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Baggage Handler Receives Stiff Sentence for International Drug Smuggling Scheme

Young handsome man passenger in 20s with carry-on backpack collecting his luggage at conveyor belt in arrivals lounge of airport terminal building

A scheme that involved removing tags from passengers’ checked bags to provide documentation for later drug shipments was uncovered by authorities and led to the lengthy jail term.

A 65-year-old former baggage handler at Gatwick Airport (LGW) was sentenced to spend the next twelve years in prison for his part in an international drug smuggling operation. David Fox pleaded guilty to using his position at the airport to both intercept drugs bound for the U.K. and remove luggage tags from random passengers’ luggage to allow his co-conspirators to continue to ship drugs into the country. Fox was arrested in 2012 along with 45-year-old Stephen Chambers. Their plot began to unravel when a large bag containing more than a half million dollars worth of cocaine was shipped to a part of the airport that Fox was unable to access.

“Both men pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence,” National Crime Agency (NCA) Spokesperson Brendan Foreman told The Daily Mail. “Fox had gone into work on his day off in the hope of retrieving the drugs, and phone evidence showed the men had spoken the night before. Incriminating baggage labels were found at the home address of Fox and in a container rented by Chambers in Lancing, Sussex.”

Both men were already in prison at the time their sentences were handed down this week due to previous drug smuggling convictions that resulted from the same NCA sting. Two other accomplices who helped to facilitate the drug running operation, both in the U.K. and in Ghana, received lesser sentences, one for three-and-a-half-years and the other earning 30 months behind bars.

“These men thought they could operate under the law enforcement radar and profit from their criminal activities – like many before them, they were wrong,” Foreman told the paper. “One of them cynically abused his trusted position as an airport worker to import large amounts of class A drugs.”

[Photo: Gatwick Airport Media Center]

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