National Crime Agency officers are re-iterating a warning to potential drug smugglers after three US nationals were jailed for attempting to bring cannabis into the UK.
The three, who all arrived on flights into London’s Heathrow Airport from Los Angeles between 13 and 15 January this year, were found by Border Force to be carrying suitcases laden with vacuum packed packages of herbal cannabis.
Following an NCA investigation, they were charged with importing class B drugs.
New Yorkers Ara Janneh, aged 25, and Madani BA Junior, aged 23, and Sabrina Desiree Hobby, aged 29, from Texas, were handed jail terms of between 12 and 26 months yesterday (2 March) at Isleworth Crown Court.
NCA Heathrow Branch Commander Andy Noyes said:
“The prison sentences handed out are the consequence of foolish decisions made by people who either think, or have been told, that they will get away with smuggling drugs into the UK.
“These attempts were largely unsophisticated, with commercial amounts of cannabis carried unconcealed within large suitcases.
“All three individuals are now serving jail time thousands of miles away from their friends and family, and I would urge anyone considering smuggling cannabis into the UK to think twice.
“The NCA and our partners in Border Force are targeting drugs couriers, and will continue to disrupt the crime groups involved in drug trafficking.”
Katherine Wilson, Regional Director of Heathrow Border Force, said:
“The smuggling, production and sale of cannabis plays a fundamental part of the business model that funds dangerous and violent organised criminal gangs.
“This seizure and others like it, should send a clear message to anyone considering smuggling illegal drugs into the UK. Working closely with the NCA, we remain committed to tackling supply chains and stopping these dangerous drugs from entering our communities.”
The convictions follow a spate of arrests involving seizures made from flights from the US. Cannabis grown legally in parts of America attracts a premium price in the UK.
More than 20 US nationals have now been arrested at UK airports since the start of 2023, with six convicted and sentenced.
Source: national crime agency