Drug bust at airport lands man in prison


A Spanish man has been jailed for two years after a sniffer dog snared him with a suitcase full of cannabis potentially worth £120,000 at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Juan Bermudez pleaded guilty to importing a controlled drug and possession with intent to supply on May 9.

Prosecutor Jessica Randall on Tuesday told Leeds Crown Court that customs found 12kg of ‘skunk’ with a street value of up to £120,000 on Bermudez during a random search after he got off a flight from Malaga landing at 11.30pm on May 6.

She said that after customs dogs detected items of note in his large silver suitcase, it was X-rayed but results were inconclusive. The numeral locks were then opened and authorities found 12 flat plastic bags each containing a kilogram of cannabis ‘skunk’. The court heard that Bermudez, who appeared via video link from HMP Doncaster, told police that he and others were being “supervised” by a Dutch man who “knew he needed the money” and was due to pay the defendant £2,000 once he returned home to Spain.

Ms Randall said that boarding passes and luggage receipts showed that Bermudez made eight trips to Leeds between December 2016 and May this year, usually staying for 24 hours.

The court heard how Bermudez said he believed there to be 4kg of cannabis in the case and he was told that if he was caught with 4kg or less he would not be prosecuted by the amount.

James Littlehales, mitigating, said: “A custodial term in a foreign country is not going to be easy for this defendant, it is of course his first time in custody.”

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, told Burmudez he was dealing with him on the basis of the one incident “whatever the suspicions” about others.

He added: “This was a very professional operation you involved yourself in and your motivation was to earn money for yourself. You were aware of the scale or something of the scale of the operation in that there were two couriers on that flight and you were close to those running the operation.”

He jailed Bermudez, 25, of Calle Calzada, Torrox, Malaga, for two years with credit for his guilty plea.