SA man bust for smuggling heroin into UK
LONDON: A man from Benoni, Ekurhuleni, has appeared in a London court accused of using cats to smuggle heroin with a street value of R13 million into the UK.
Scott Parker, who has dual South African and British nationality, allegedly hid the drug in the bottoms of three cat crates with the animals still inside them.
The cats were on a flight from Oliver Tambo International Airport to Heathrow Airport in London to where their owners were returning.
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said workers at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre thought the crates were unusually heavy after the pets had been removed.
Under closer examination, officers uncovered a false bottom in the crates and found the heroin hidden inside.
The NCA was called in, and Parker was arrested when he came to collect the cats.
The stash of heroin recovered by police weighed 15kg.
Parker has since been charged with importing a class A drug into the UK.
He appeared before the Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court where he was not required to enter a plea. He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear in the Islewor th Crown Court next Thursday.
Com - menting on the arrest, Paul Bolton, from the NCA ’s Border Policing Command, said: “This was an unusual concealment and if sold in the UK, the heroin would have had a value in excess of
The drugs were found hidden in false bottoms of pet cats’ crates
£750 000 (R13m).
“Working with the Border Force, we will continue to target those who try to bring illegal drugs into the UK and do damage to communities.”
Border Force Heathrow Director Marc Owen added: “Border Force works closely with all our law-enforcement colleagues, including the NCA, to prevent drug trafficking and do all we can to put those responsible behind bars.
“Those who engage in drug smuggling should be in no doubt that they will be targeted and brought to justice,” he told reporters.
A spokesman for the NCA said the cats were safe and had since been reunited with their owners.