They found cocaine weighing over 100kg, as well as 50kg of cannabis.
A judge found two members of a drugs gang guilty for their participation in a plot to smuggle cocaine worth over £9 million.
They belonged to a larger group who smuggled drugs through Heathrow airport.
The convictions took place at Kingston Crown Court on 5th October 2017. After an eight-week trial, the judge found 43-year-old Preetam Mungrah and 30-year-old Wilfred Owusu guilty of conspiring to import cocaine into the UK.
They both worked with baggage handler Joysen Jhurry, who played a significant role in the smuggling plot. The National Crime Agency (NCA) conducted an extensive 18-month investigation into the gang.
During the trial, the court heard how surveillance officers would watch how the plot unfolded. The drugs came from flights directed to Heathrow from Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Suitcases containing drugs would be added into the luggage of the plane after security checks.
Someone located in Brazil would also inform the UK smugglers what the bags looked like. When the plane arrived at Heathrow, Jhurry would search for the luggage and move them to baggage carousel for domestic flights.
For each flight, Jhurry would make phone contact with Mungrah, who NCA described as “his right-hand man”.
Meanwhile, Owusu would organise couriers to arrive on domestic flights from various airports in the UK. They would collect the bags containing the drugs and leave Heathrow without going through customs control.
During the investigation, police arrested two couriers. Named Danovan Bull and Moses Awopetu, they both pleaded guilty to importing class A drugs.
In addition, UK Border Force officers carried out seizures of bags from Brazil between November 2015 and November 2016. Altogether, they found cocaine weighing over 100kg, as well as 50kg of cannabis.
While the judge found Mungrah and Owusu guilty, Jhurry previously confessed to his crimes. Three other members of the gang, named Damion Goodhall, Mark Agoro, Aziz Abdul, all pleaded guilty for their involvement in the plot.
Brendan Foreman, NCA Regional Head of Investigations, said of the case:
“This was a sophisticated plot and at the centre of it was a man who used his privileged access to Heathrow and insider knowledge of the airport’s systems for criminal purposes.
“This kind of corruption threatens the security of the UK border and the public at large which is why the NCA and its partners are tackling it as a priority.”
All members of the gang will receive their sentences at a later date.