News story

Smuggler jailed after £3.9million drug seizure

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Border Force finds 24 kilos of heroin hidden inside chapatti oven at Manchester Airport.

A Birmingham man has been jailed for 12 years for attempting to smuggle drugs with an estimated street value of £3.9 million through Manchester Airport, following a joint investigation by Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

When Border Force officers made the seizure on 7 June this year it was one of the largest single detections of Class A drugs at the airport.

Drug smuggling

Muhammad Khalid, 43, was sentenced at Manchester (Minshull Street) Crown Court on Monday 29 October after pleading guilty to drug smuggling.

Khalid, of Camrose Croft in Balsall Heath, had arrived on a flight from Islamabad in Pakistan and was intercepted by officers as he passed through the green ‘nothing to declare’ channel.

Officers became suspicious of a large cardboard box that was part of his luggage and when questioned Mr Khalid explained that it contained an oven for making chapattis.

The oven was then inspected and officers found a brown substance packed inside the lining.

When questioned Mr Khalid claimed that the substance inside was mud, but forensic tests revealed that it was heroin. The total weight of the drugs was around 24 kilos.

An oven for making chapattis
An oven for making chapattis

Sam Bullimore, Assistant Director for Border Force, said:

This is one of the biggest-ever seizure of drugs at Manchester Airport and a huge amount of heroin has been kept off the streets as a result.

I would like to praise the efforts of my officers and reassure people that we will continue to work to keep our border safe and make life as tough as possible for people who seek to profit from this evil trade.

Peter Avery, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said:

Through our close working with Border Force colleagues we have managed to put a serious drug smuggler behind bars and protected our communities by keeping a substantial quantity of drugs off the streets.

This conviction should serve as a warning to others involved in drug smuggling - the NCA will find you and put you before the courts.

National Crime Agency

The NCA’s Border Policing Command (BPC) has more than 300 officers at major ports, investigating detections of drugs, firearms, cash and other non-fiscal crime made by Border Force. The BPC also has an extensive overseas network of around 120 officers in 40 locations around the world.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.