Airport baggage handler Mohammad Ali jailed over Brazil drug smuggling conspiracy
A CORRUPT baggage handler who was part of a criminal conspiracy to smuggle at least £16 million worth of drugs through Heathrow Airport has been jailed for 15 years.
Mohammad Ali, 41, of Spackmans Way, Slough, assisted colleague Joysen Jhurry, 41, to move suitcases containing the drugs off planes and into the carousels for domestic flights. The bags would then be collected by couriers arriving on internal flights from UK airports who could exit Heathrow’s domestic arrivals – without going through customs controls.
Ali was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday after being found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine. In total the criminal gang was sentenced to over 139 years in prison and over 100 kilos of cocaine and 44 kilos of cannabis were seized by officers.
National Crime Agency (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.”
“Border Force, Airport authorities and the airline community were vital in helping us to stop this organised crime group in its tracks and pull together the evidence which lead to them being sentenced to significant jail time today.”
The conspiracy was brought to an end in December 2016 following an 18 month investigation led by the NCA, with support from Border Force and Heathrow Airport. Around the time of each flight, Jhurry was in phone contact with his right-hand man Preetam Mungrah, 44, who acted as the intermediary between him and the organisers. In charge of the drug importations and onward distribution was Damion Goodhall, 30, Wilfred Owusu, 31, Mark Agoro, 52, and Michael Sutherland, 48, who organised for cocaine to be flown in from Brazil on at least six separate occasions.
Members of the group were also filmed by NCA officers meeting on numerous occasions, either at each other’s houses or in public places. Eight of them were arrested in dawn raids across London on December 14.