Ilford garage owner jailed for £37.2 million heroin smuggling plot
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
A garage owner has been jailed for 19 years for plotting to smuggle 230 kilos of heroin into Britain in a specially-adapted Jaguar car, police said.
The Class A drug was stashed in the bumpers, wheel arches, dashboard, central console, spare wheel compartment, engine and rear seating of the luxury car.
If cut and sold the drugs would have had street value of around £37.2 million.
Attique Sami, 44, of Walden Way, Ilford, was found guilty on Tuesday of conspiring to import and supply heroin, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
He was sentenced to 19 years in prison at Luton Crown Court.
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It comes after two other men, Noman Qureshi, 32, from Bradford, and Israr Khan, 35, from Luton, were jailed for 21 and 18 years respectively for their part in the scheme.
On December 6 2013, Qureshi drove from his home in Bradford, picked up Khan in Luton, and went on to a hotel in Ilford, the NCA said.
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Sami then arrived in a Porsche 911 to meet with them to discuss where to unload the heroin from the car.
The Jaguar, which had been shipped to the UK from Pakistan, was driven to Dagenham during the early hours the next day.
Qureshi and Khan met it and were arrested later that morning in Luton following an undercover operation by police.
The Jaguar was seized and examined by specialist Border Force search officers. They recovered 316 separate packages of heroin totalling 230 kilos.
Sami was arrested in February 2014 after NCA investigators linked him to a phone regularly used to contact Qureshi prior to the heroin importation.
National Crime Agency Branch Commander David Norris said: “Sami played a crucial part in this conspiracy - his role would have been to recover the drugs concealed within the car.
“This group had international contacts and planned to import hundreds of kilos of high-purity heroin to the UK in what was a quite remarkable smuggling attempt.
“The car in which the drugs were hidden had virtually every spare bit of space filled with heroin.
“But they were unaware their moves were being monitored by NCA investigators, who prevented them from putting these harmful drugs on the streets.”