Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Prison for heroin smuggling pair

Heroin in pallets
A search found several fridge units and wooden pallets

Two men have been sentenced to 25 and 18 years in jail for their part in a heroin smuggling operation.

Babu Sarasia, 44, of HMP Welford Road, and his brother Bharat Sarasia, 45, of Darlington Road, Leicester, had denied conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Nottingham Crown Court heard 18 kgs (40lbs) of heroin with a street value of £1.3m was sent inside pallets from Turkey in 2007 to a Leicester garage.

The court heard up to nine earlier loads had been delivered this way.

Customs officials found the heroin inside hollowed out wooden pallets used to transport industrial fridges, the court was told.

Big operation

The pallets were then monitored until they were delivered to Sukie Motors, in Midland Street, Leicester.

A search of the premises uncovered several fridge units and wooden pallets.

Det Con Kevin Hames, from Leicestershire Constabulary, said: "The chiller units themselves cost between £2,500 and £4,000 each and were imported purely to cover up the drugs operation. They were not sold on or used for anything.

"The fact they were happy to spend between £40,000 and £80,000 just on hiding the drugs goes to show the size of the operation."

A third man, Rajesh Rathod, 48, of Portmore Close, Beaumont Leys, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.


Police footage from the raid at the Leicester garage

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