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Those British Airways Baggage Handlers Who Smuggled £32 Million Were Finally Sentenced

Members of a thirteen-person drug smuggling ring that operated for more than 15 months between Brazil and London Heathrow airport were finally sentenced to jail time – a total of 139 years for the group – after being busted in December 2016.

For more than 15 months, ending in December 2016, a 13-member drug smuggling ring operated out of Heathrow Airport (LHR), arranging cocaine pick-ups at baggage claim for drugs flying in from Brazil. On Tuesday, the group was finally sentenced to prison: 139 years total for the group, ranging from 6-year to 20-year sentences.

The smuggling ring relied on two corrupt baggage handlers working for British Airways, Joysen Jhurry and Mohammad Ali, and Ali’s brother-in-law, Preetam Mungrah. Jhurry and Ali used their access cards to take luggage off of flights coming in from Brazil and then would move the bags to the domestic baggage claim, avoiding all the customs and security checks. From there, a drug runner would be contacted via Blackberry with instructions on which bag to take from the carousel. They’d collect the luggage and walk out of the airport.

“Millions of people use Heathrow each year and depend on the honesty and integrity of baggage handlers to do their job properly, but it is not simply a question of confidence in flight so far as a passenger getting his bag on arrival, but there is a security concern also, particularly in the times we live in,” Judge Michael Hopmeier said during the sentencing, reported by the Daily Mail.

All of the smugglers were arrested in a series of stings that intercepted more than 220 pounds of cocaine.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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