Tuesday 25 October 2016

Dubliner (22) tried to smuggle cocaine worth €1.1m in food packages

Graham Smith tried to smuggle over €1m worth of cocaine through Heathrow Airport in food packages
Graham Smith tried to smuggle over €1m worth of cocaine through Heathrow Airport in food packages

An Irishman caught trying to smuggle more then €1m worth of cocaine from Brazil into England has been jailed.

Dubliner Graham Patrick Smith (22) was sentenced to five years by a court in England.

Smith was stopped by customs officials at Heathrow Airport in London and claimed he had travelled to Brazil for a friend's stag party.

He was found to have concealed cocaine with a street value in Britain of £864,000 (€1,115,900) in his luggage.

Border Force officers stopped the Dubliner in the customs channels in the airport's Terminal 3 building on November 30 last.

Smith had arrived on a flight from Sao Paulo and told the Border Force staff that he had travelled to the South American country to attend a friend's stag party.


During a search of his baggage, the officers found a number of sealed plastic bags that appeared to contain food.

But when one of the plastic packages was cut open, a white-coloured powder was discovered inside.

In the subsequent tests it was revealed to be cocaine.

There was a total of six kilos of the drug in Smith's luggage.

The case was referred to the National Crime Agency's (NCA) Border Policing Command and, following questioning, Smith was charged with attempting to import a Class A drug.

Forensic tests carried out on the powder inside the case showed that it was cocaine with a purity of 73pc.

Smith, with an address at Westbourne Green, Clondalkin, Dublin, was brought before Isleworth Crown Court on Friday last.

The court was told that the six kilos of the drug found in his luggage would have had a UK street value of approximately £864,000 if cut and sold. Smith pleaded guilty to the offence.

Phil Douglas, Border Force Heathrow director, said the seizure was considerable.

"This was a cynical, but unsophisticated attempt to smuggle Class A drugs into the UK," said Mr Douglas.

"The Border Force officers who foiled it prevented a sizeable quantity of cocaine from reaching our streets," he said.

"We continue to work with our colleagues from the NCA to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice," he added.


One of the most widely known cases of an Irish person seeking to smuggle cocaine from South America was that of Michaella McCollum.

McCollum's case attracted media coverage when in August, 2013, she and Scottish woman Melissa Reid were caught trying to board a flight from Lima in Peru to Madrid in Spain carrying a total of 11kg of cocaine, valued at €1.8m.

They later pleaded guilty in a Peruvian court and received a jail sentence of six years and eight months.

McCollum was released from prison on parole last month.

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