A MAN who tried to smuggle heroin worth almost £1million into the UK through Birmingham Airport has been jailed for nine years.
Mohammed Uzair Rashid arrived at the airport on a flight from Sialkot in Pakistan, via Dubai, with 18kg of ‘high-strength’ drugs in his checked-in bags.
According to the National Crime Agency (NCA), the 35-year-old claimed the bags were not his and the packages had been planted inside.
The Greater Manchester resident later pleaded guilty to class A drug importation offences, and was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
NCA forensic experts found that the packages contained heroin between 66 and 71 per cent pure, with a street value in excess of £900,000.
WhatsApp messages recovered from Rashid’s 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 operations manager Niall Conner said: “Rashid’s story should be a cautionary one for anyone considering getting involved in drug smuggling.
“He might have thought he could make a bit of money on the side, but instead he is now serving a long and life-changing prison sentence.
“Heroin is a drug which fuels violence and exploitation in our communities, where we often see it sold by County Lines street gangs.
“This is why we are working with partners to do all we can to disrupt supply chains and track down those bringing it in to the UK.”