A drug smuggler caught bringing almost £700,000 of heroin through Leeds Bradford Airport has been jailed for 16 years.
Mohammed Naveed was intercepted at the airport in Yeadon on June 27 after abandoning a shoulder bag in the luggage collection area when he realised he was to be searched after he got off a flight from Islamabad. Inside customs officers found a stash of 2.92 kilogrammes of heroin concealed inside cigarette sleeves.
Naveed’s fingerprint was found inside the bag.
That heroin had a street value of around £650,000 but he was also already wanted for questioning about two earlier illegal importations by other couriers into Manchester Airport.
The estimated street value of the three hauls seized was over £2.1m, David Hall prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court.
Naveed, 36 of Whetley Lane, Girlington, who is also known as Mohammed Ahmed Ismail, was convicted by a jury last week of two charges of conspiracy to import heroin and illegal importation.
Sentencing him yesterday Judge Guy Kearl QC said from his contacts he must have known of the extensive nature of the operation.
It was possible two couriers having been caught that they had simply run out of couriers and Naveed himself had to carry drugs.
The judge said it appeared Naveed got “cold feet” when he landed in June and put the shoulder bag on a conveyer belt where it was found by a Servisair employee who handed it to customs officers.
In January Naveed was on the same flight from Manchester Airport to Pakistan as Mohammed Siddique who subsequently returned alone using a ticket bought for him by Naveed.
Siddique was arrested at Manchester Airport with 5.23 kilogrammes of heroin hidden in cigarette sleeves in exactly the same way as it was found in June.
That had a street value of more than £200,000.
On May 17 another courier, Sharaz Khan was arrested at Manchester Airport he was carrying heroin with a street value of more than £1.3m.
Tina Landale for Khan said there was no lavish lifestyle.
Pete Avery, of Border Force, said: “The sentence handed out sends a strong message to anyone thinking of smuggling drugs into the UK.
“We have robost controls in place at all our ports and airports.
“We will catch you and you will pay with your liberty.”