Officials seize cocaine suitcase

Border officials at UK airports have enjoyed some success in the fight against drug smuggling, after a would-be dealer was apprehended at Bristol Airport earlier this month and two more individuals were sentenced to a combined 10 years in prison for cocaine trafficking offences committed in January and June.

On Saturday, officials at Bristol Airport arrested a man trying to smuggle a suitcase full of cocaine into the country. The man, Andrius Karbauskis, believed to be Lithuanian in origin, arrived on a jet from Antalya, Turkey, carrying the £250,000 haul in "false compartments" inside the suitcase.

Cocaine, which is one of the most popular recreational drugs in the world, carries a maximum penalty in the UK of life imprisonment for supply, and seven years in jail for possession. People have been charged with ‘intent to supply’ after being found with just 1 gram of the Class A substance.

Gateshead man Dean Gilmore was sentenced to three years in jail on Friday for a botched attempt to escape Newcastle Airport with £88,000 worth of cocaine. Dean, who was carrying 2.4kg of the banned drug, was arrested in January after locking himself inside his own vehicle, a Vauxhall Omega with a malfunctioning auto-locking mechanism.

Detective Constable David Johnson said that the “vigilance” of airport staff and police officers had contributed to Gilmore’s arrest.

Completing the trio of convictions, Elphia Dlamini, an air hostess at South African Airways, was found guilty of cocaine smuggling on Monday and sentenced to seven years in prison. Elphia was rumbled by sniffer dog Clever Trevor at Heathrow Airport in June. She had been carrying a 3kg drugs haul worth £120,000 in her bra and knickers.

Somerset newspaper The Weston Mercury claims that the UK Border Agency is “cracking down” on a range of offences, from drug smuggling to sham marriages and illegal immigration.

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