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Last Updated: Friday, 6 August, 2004, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Bag handler jailed for smuggling
Heathrow airport
Bassi worked as a baggage handler at London's Heathrow Airport
A Heathrow airport baggage handler who was central to a cocaine smuggling ring has been jailed for 19 years.

Kamaljit Bassi, of Hayes, Middlesex, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to import controlled drugs on Wednesday at Guildford Crown Court.

Junior Royes, 39, and Brian Emile, 49, both from west London, were jailed for 17 Years each for one similar count.

Bassi, 40, was caught after taking packages from the bags of travellers who had unknowingly carried the drugs.

The passengers, Carlton Joseph, 54, of Harringay, north London, and Rachelle Chapman, a 19-year-old childminder from Balham, south London, were each cleared of one count of conspiracy to import controlled drugs earlier this week.

Mr Joseph had flown in from Brazil with 6.2kg of cocaine, worth about 414,500, disguised as chocolate bars.

You made the decision to profit out of this obscene traffic and now you must pay the price
Judge Peter Testar
Ms Chapman's bag, who had flown in from Guyana, contained crack and cocaine in gift wrapped packages which had a value of more than 229,000.

Bassi took the parcels before the baggage reached the luggage carousels at the airport and stored them in his locker.

He did not know that in an elaborate customs operation involving officers in the UK, Brazil, Barbados and Spain, the contents of the packages had been switched.

He was caught later that day when he went to meet Royes to hand the drugs over.

Judge Peter Testar told Emile he believed he was the organiser of the operation.

Passing sentence the judge said: "Each of you three made the deliberate decision to make a profit for himself out of this obscene traffic and now you must pay the price."

He added that civilised society had to do everything it could to stamp out the trade in Class A drugs.




SEE ALSO:
BA man on drug smuggling charge
04 Dec 03  |  England
Police seize cocaine haul
11 Jul 03  |  Norfolk


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