AN upholsterer who was caught transporting £1.6 million worth of cocaine within two armchairs has been locked up for nine years.

Andrew Duncan Fraser pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine last year, following an investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) - a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Service unit.

OCP officers tracked down and stopped the 58-year-old, of Harlow, on October 17 as he drove his van along the M25 towards the Dartford crossing in Kent.

Fraser told officers he had come from picking up some chairs which he planned to upholster.

Officers found two brown leather armchairs stacked within the rear of the van.

Sniffer dogs were immediately drawn to them and officers then discovered two shopping bags containing 20 kilos of cocaine hidden within them.

Essex drug dealer hid £1.6m of cocaine inside armchairs


Fraser, who has several previous convictions for the supply of cocaine and cannabis resin, claimed he didn’t recognise the blocks nor understand what might be inside them.

When pressed, he admitted due to previous drugs charges he "might have half an idea" of what the packages could contain.

On his mobile phone, Fraser had encryption software which is typically used by criminals to anonymously conduct their activity.

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Lab testing confirmed the cocaine was high purity, between 79 and 86 per cent, and potentially worth around £1.6 million if sold on the streets.

Fraser appeared at Croydon Crown Court today, where he was jailed for nine years.

Essex drug dealer hid £1.6m of cocaine inside armchairs


Detective Inspector Richard Smith, of the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Drugs, cash and violence are intrinsically linked.

“Andrew Fraser was handling a huge volume of cocaine, which when sold would have had terrible knock-on effects on London’s communities.

“The OCP works to stop the movement of illegal drugs by criminals who profit from their trade and in doing so, put the public at risk of serious harm.”