Reproduced from Manchester Evening News
X-ray revealed dozens of bags, each the size of a ‘large gherkin’, in system of Wade Williams – the drugs were later found to be worth £200,000 (US$213,000)
A drug smuggler who risked his life by swallowing more than 70 bags of cocaine before boarding a flight to Manchester has been jailed.
Wade Williams, 53, was stopped by Border Force officers on Valentine’s Day after his flight from Barbados landed at Manchester Airport.
The incident adds to another high profile case, with another smuggler caught at Manchester Airport last month.
It’s understood Williams, of Georgetown, Guyana in South America, began to ‘produce’ the packages after high-tech border checks and during questioning and he was promptly taken for an X-ray.
The scan confirmed he had swallowed 1.5 kilos of high-purity cocaine in 72 small packages – each the size of a ‘large gherkin’.
The drugs’ likely street value once cut would have been £200,000. The bags were so potent that had just one of them split it could have been fatal.
The case was handed over to the National Crime Agency’s policing team at the airport.
He was questioned and charged with importing Class A drugs.
He appeared before Recorder Robert Crawford at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court and was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to the charge.
There was also an order for his deportation and the destruction of the drugs.
Rob Miles, head of the National Crime Agency’s Manchester border investigation team, said: “This demonstrates the desperation shown by smugglers to get illegal drugs into the UK. His actions were foolish to say the least – had just one of the 72 packages swallowed by Williams broken or split it is likely the consequences would have been fatal.
“It also shows that it doesn’t matter how well traffickers hide the drugs, we can still find them and stop them.”
Border staff use search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners to find stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco.
Criminal investigations launched as a result of Border Force seizures are undertaken by officers from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command.
Anyone with information about activity which may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.