A lorry driver who attempted to smuggle ketamine and mephedrone worth £2 million into the UK by hiding it in his mattress has been jailed.
The National Crime Agency investigated Alessio Giovannetti (36), from Italy, after his HGV was stopped at Dover on 29 May 2021.
His truck, carrying lettuce, was searched by Border Force officers and packages containing 70 kilos of ketamine and 20 kilos of mephedrone were found in voids hidden around the cab.
Further amounts were discovered in Giovannetti’s mattress, with NCA forensic experts estimating the drugs to have been worth £2 million at street level.
NCA officers questioned Giovannetti who stated that the packages smelt bad so he had placed them around his cab to stop the smell.
He said he believed the packages contained horse medication which he did not think was illegal.
Giovannetti was charged with two counts of attempting to import class B drugs.
He pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court on 19 August and was sentenced to five years and seven months imprisonment.
NCA senior investigating officer Daren Nicholls said: “Alessio Giovannetti went to great efforts to hide these drugs around his cab, claiming it was their bad smell that caused him to conceal his illegal haul.
“Drug runners like Giovannetti should not doubt that we are determined to catch them and bring them to justice.
“These drugs would have caused serious harm if they had reached the streets of the UK and we will continue to work with our Border Force partners to ensure criminal activity like Giovannetti’s is disrupted.”