Camara Menendez, 55, from Spain, claimed he was delivering vegetables to restaurants in Brighton when he was caught at Portsmouth port on July 10.
But when Border Force officers examined the vehicle they found a discrepancy between the length of the exterior and interior of the van.
It was X-ray scanned, which suggested an anomaly at the front of the box van between the drivers’ cab and the cargo section.
When officers cut a hole in the van bulkhead they found a stash of skunk cannabis.
In all, 78 bags of skunk cannabis were recovered from the fake compartment, each weighing 1kg.
Camara told officers he was promised 5,000 Euros to smuggle the drugs - and he had been paid 500 Euros for a 'training run' previous trip.
Now he has been jailed for three years at Portsmouth Crown Court after admitting attempting to import cannabis, a class B drug, at an earlier hearing. He had traveled from Bilbao to England.
Andy Lumb, acting deputy director of Border Force South, said: 'This was a sophisticated attempt to smuggle a large quantity of illegal drugs into the UK. The vehicle had been specifically adapted for the sole purpose of smuggling.
'In making this seizure and putting this man in prison Border Force and the NCA have protected the public and prevented further criminality.'