"[He] attempted to use his privileged access and knowledge of the systems in place at the airport for criminal purposes."
A business-class airline steward received an 8-year jail sentence for attempting to smuggle heroin, while he served passengers on a flight.
Zohaab Sadique, aged 30, was caught with a kilo of heroin, worth £100,000. In January 2016, he flew on an Emirates Airline flight to Dubai, where he picked up the drugs.
He then smuggled them onto a return flight to Manchester.
While the 30-year-old stashed the drugs behind his seat, he served business-class passengers champagne, cocktails and canapes.
Upon landing, he and the rest of the cabin crew went on a shuttle bus that transferred them from the plane to the airport terminal.
Border Force officers carried checks on the crew, where the stash of heroin was sniffed out by a detective dog.
They found one white, carrier bag, containing five clear packets of brown powder hidden behind Zohaab’s seat. CCTV footage from the bus also showed him placing the bag behind the seat, away from the officers and dog.
Shortly after, the National Crime Agency (NCA) launched an investigation into the airline steward. They discovered a series of images depicting heroin on his mobile phone.
Zohaab was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 23rd January 2018. He pleaded guilty to one charge of importing Class A drugs in order to avoid trial. As a result, the judge sentenced him to 8 years.
NCA Operations Manager Jon Hughes said:
“Zohaab Sadique attempted to use his privileged access and knowledge of the systems in place at the airport for criminal purposes.
“Corrupt insiders like him are very dangerous people, and provide an important service to the organised criminal networks involved in smuggling drugs and other illicit commodities into the UK. This is why tackling corruption at the border is such a priority for us.
“The close partnership between the NCA and Border Force was crucial to this investigation, and by putting Sadique behind bars we have protected the public.”
Deputy Director of Border Force North Paul Airlie also added:
“The expertise of Border Force officers – and our detector dogs – stopped a significant amount of dangerous drugs reaching our streets and was the crucial first step in bringing Sadique to justice.
“This case shows that there is no one type of drug smuggler and Border Force officers need to remain vigilant at all times to prevent illegal importations, no matter how well they are concealed or who by.
“We will continue working closely with our law enforcement partners like the NCA to tackle drug smuggling and bring those responsible to justice.”
With the verdict now delivered, Zohaab Sadique will begin his jail sentence.