Bag­gage han­dler helped gang smug­gle £9m worth of co­caine

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - GOOLISTAN COOPER

A COR­RUPT Heathrow bag­gage han­dler was part of a gang which smug­gled £9 mil­lion of class A drugs through the air­port.

Joy­sen Jhurry ar­ranged to move suit­cases stuffed with co­caine from a flight from Brazil onto bag­gage carousels for do­mes­tic flights.

The 40-year-old, of Grange Gar­dens, in Banstead, had al­ready ad­mit­ted con­spir­ing to im­port Class A drugs at an ear­lier hear­ing, and on Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 5 two men were con­victed of smug­gling gang.

Pree­tam Mun­grah, 43, of Thorn­ton Heath, and Wil­fred Owusu, 30, of Stoke New­ing­ton, were found guilty of con­spir­ing with Jhurry to im­port the co­caine into the UK fol­low­ing an eight-week trial at Kingston Crown Court .

The pros­e­cu­tion fol­lowed an 18-month Na­tional Crime Agency (NCA) in­ves­ti­ga­tion, cul­mi­nat­ing in their ar­rests in De­cem­ber 2016.

NCA sur­veil­lance of­fi­cers would watch as Jhurry ar­ranged to move suit­cases con­tain­ing the drugs off a flight from Brazil and have them placed on bag­gage carousels for do­mes­tic flights.

Around the time of each flight Jhurry was in phone con­tact with his right-hand man Mun­grah.

The bags would then be col­lected by couriers, or­gan­ised by Owusu, ar­riv­ing on in­ter­nal flights from other air­ports in the UK, who could exit Heathrow with­out go­ing through cus­toms con­trols.

Two such couriers, Danovan Bull, 45, and Moses Awopetu, 38, were ar­rested on ar­rival and would later plead guilty to im­port­ing class A drugs.

On other oc­ca­sions seizures were made by Border Force of­fi­cers.

In to­tal, co­caine weigh­ing more than 100kg and cannabis weigh­ing around 50kg was seized from the gang.

Three other men, Damion Good­hall, 30, of Toot­ing, Lon­don, Mark Agoro, 51, of Thur­rock, Es­sex, and Aziz Abdul, 37, of no fixed abode, also pleaded guilty to be­ing part of the con­spir­acy.

All will be sen­tenced later in the year.

NCA re­gional head of in­ves­ti­ga­tions Bren­dan Fore­man said: “This was a so­phis­ti­cated plot and at the cen­tre of it was a man who used his priv­i­leged ac­cess to Heathrow and in­sider knowl­edge of the air­port’s sys­tems for crim­i­nal pur­poses.

“This kind of cor­rup­tion threat­ens the se­cu­rity of the UK border and the pub­lic at large which is why the NCA and its part­ners are tack­ling it as a pri­or­ity.

“Work­ing with Border Force, air­port author­i­ties and the air­line com­mu­nity we were able to stop this or­gan­ised crime group in its tracks and pull to­gether ev­i­dence which demon­strated their guilt to the jury.”

Border Force Heathrow di­rec­tor Phil Dou­glas said: “Our of­fi­cers played a piv­otal role in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, help­ing to bring these in­di­vid­u­als to jus­tice.

“Of­fi­cers worked closely with the Na­tional Crime Agency, gath­er­ing vi­tal in­tel­li­gence be­fore ar­rests were made. They also used their ex­pert knowl­edge of the air­port and its staff on the day ar­rests took place.

“This case demon­strates that Border Force of­fi­cers are on con­stant alert at all times of the year to keep re­stricted and pro­hib­ited items out of the coun­try and pre­vent them get­ting into the hands of or­gan­ised crime groups.”

Joy­sen Jhurry

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