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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 12:11 GMT
Jail terms for Ghana drug girls
Yasemin Vatansever being taken out of court, 18 July 2007

Two British girls convicted of trying to smuggle cocaine from Ghana to the UK have been jailed for one year each.

Yasemin Vatansever and Yatunde Diya, both 16 and from north London, were arrested at Kotoka International Airport in Accra on 2 July 2007.

They denied trying to smuggle 6kg (13lbs) of the drug to London.

The sentencing judge gave them three months off for good behaviour. As they have already been in jail for seven months they will be released in April.

Whether you are a user or a trafficker, you are gambling with your life.
Tony Walker, Operation Westbridge

It is unlikely the girls will serve all or part of their sentence in the UK as there is no transfer agreement between the UK and the west African country.

The pair were arrested under a joint operation set up a year ago between the UK and Ghana to combat drug smuggling.

Clear message

They told the court that they were set up, but the prosecution said they were involved from the start in a plot to smuggle drugs.

They were found guilty in November of drug possession and trafficking and will now be released on 18 April.

Prosecuting lawyer Evelyn Keelson said after the sentencing: "The message is clear - when you are caught with narcotics, the law will deal with you and that is what we want society to know."

According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) "tens of millions of pounds of drugs" have been seized and stopped from reaching the UK as a result of the collaboration.

Tony Walker, who heads Operation Westbridge, said: "Cases such as these should be a warning to anyone that drugs destroy lives. Whether you are a user or a trafficker, you are gambling with your life.

"The use of such young people in smuggling drugs demonstrates the ruthless nature of those criminal gangs involved in the illegal narcotics trade and the misery they cause."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The girls arriving at court in Ghana



SEE ALSO
Ghana smuggling case progresses
16 Aug 07 |  London
UK girls on Ghana drugs charges
13 Jul 07 |  Africa

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