Pak-origin drug smuggler arrested in UK

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:37

London: A Pakistan-origin drug smuggler who
imported heroin hidden in a consignment of vegetables has been jailed for 11 years in the UK.

Ali Amir Shah, 44, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by
London`s Kingston Crown Court after pleading guilty to
conspiracy to import two kilos of heroin with a street value
of around 80,000 pounds.

Shah was sentenced last week, but his conviction wasn`t
announced until yesterday.

The drugs were discovered after UK Border Agency officers
examined a shipment of mooli - a variety of East Asian radish
- that had arrived from Heathrow Airport on a flight from
Pakistan in February 2011.

Officers found the vegetables had been cut open and
hollowed out to make space for the drugs which were then
stuffed into the cavities before the mooli was glued back
together.

This resulted in Middle Market Drugs Partnership
launching a pro-active policing operation which identified
Shah as being involved. Shah was responsible for collection
and custody of the drugs within the UK, taking them to a
secure location in order for them to be distributed within
London.

Shah was arrested on Saturday February 19. He pleaded
guilty and was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on October 6.

Detective Inspector Steven Miles, from Middle Market
Drugs Partnership, said: "This investigation led to the
recovery of a significant quantity of harmful Class A drugs
that were destined for the streets of London.

"The concealment of these drugs was unusual and had
clearly been constructed with meticulous care. However, the
vigilance of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) led to the discovery
of the consignment which prompted our inquiries and ultimately
this successful prosecution."

Assistant Director Pete Avery, from the UK Border
Agency`s Criminal and Financial Investigation directorate,
said: "This was a sophisticated concealment and demonstrates
the lengths that drug smugglers are prepared to go to get
contraband into the UK. But that was matched by the vigilance,
dedication and determination shown by our officers who
uncovered this shipment.

"Working with law enforcement partners like the
Metropolitan Police and SOCA we are determined to tackle the
criminal gangs responsible for bringing class A drugs into the
UK."

Middle Market Drugs Partnership is an equal partnership
project between the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime
Directorate (SCD7) and Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:37

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