A man who tried to smuggle heroin worth almost £1 million into the U.K. through Birmingham Airport has been jailed for nine years.
National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators questioned Mohammed Uzair Rashid, from Greater Manchester, after he arrived at the airport on a flight from Sialkot in Pakistan, via Dubai, in November 2021.
CCTV cameras captured the moment Border Force officers singled the 35-year-old out for a search, during which they found almost 18 kilos of high-strength heroin in his checked-in baggage. Rashid claimed the bags were not his, then that the packages had been planted inside.
NCA officers identified that Rashid had flown out to Pakistan on September 29 on a ticket booked the same day as his travel. He claimed to have taken more than £500 savings from his benefit payments on the holiday with him.
WhatsApp messages recovered from his phone showed he was in constant contact with someone he referred to as ‘Brother’ as he passed through the airport in Pakistan. In one message he was advised to “Remain tension free…God will be generous” as he walked through.
NCA forensic experts found that the packages contained heroin between 66 and 71 percent pure, with a street value in excess of £900,000.
Rashid eventually pleaded guilty to class A drug importation offenses, and was sentenced on May 13 at Birmingham Crown Court.