Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 15:35 UK

Child drug smuggler woman jailed

A Mexican woman has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years after 20lb (9kg) of cocaine was discovered strapped to two children at Heathrow Airport.

Elisa Vazquez Sanchez, 40, was convicted of smuggling.

The drugs were found attached to the legs of a boy of 13 and an 11-year-old girl on 11 March.

The judge at Isleworth Crown Court said Sanchez "should be ashamed of herself" and recommended that she was deported after serving her sentence.

Sanchez and the youngsters were stopped at Heathrow's Terminal 4 after they arrived in England on a British Airways flight from Mexico.

The children are now in the care of social services.

"The use of such young children in the smuggling of drugs demonstrates the ruthless nature of those criminal gangs involved in the illegal drugs trade," said Peter Avery, assistant director of criminal investigation at HM Revenue and Customs.

Customs officers had "prevented a large amount of cocaine hitting the streets of the UK", he added.

The drugs seized had an estimated street value of 360,000.


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