July 24 2014 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
A drug smuggler who risked his life by swallowing £200,000 worth of high-quality cocaine in a bid to evade customs has been jailed for five years.
Andrew Chitedze, of Kerridge Court, off Balls Pond Road, Dalston, was arrested by Border Force officers at Luton Airport in January, as he arrived back into the UK on a flight from Argentina, via Madrid.
Chitedze claimed to have been visiting an uncle abroad, but a body scan revealed several suspicious packages were in his abdomen.
The 48-year old then admitted he had swallowed 78 packages of the class A drug.
Forensic tests later revealed that they contained over one kilo of high-purity cocaine, which if cut and sold on the streets in the UK would have had an estimated value of around £200,000.
Chitedze pleaded guilty to drug importation charges, and was sentenced to five years in prison at a hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday March 28.
Border Force regional director Phillip Holliday said the case shows the lengths smugglers will go to in their attempts to bring class A drugs into the UK.
“Those who swallow packages like this are risking their lives,” he said.
“Border Force officers are on the front line of the fight to stop illegal drugs like cocaine making it onto the UK’s streets.
Criminal investigations launched as a result of Border Force seizures of prohibited items and goods are undertaken by officers from the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) border policing command.
The NCA fights to cut serious and organised crime, including child exploitation, drug and people smuggling, illegal immigration and fraud and cyber crime.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.