Cocaine gang jailed over Heathrow flights

|News, International and organised crime

Three men, including a Heathrow security worker, have today (8 June) been sentenced for organising the importation of cocaine into the UK from South America.

Farhan Iqbal, 31, a security worker at Heathrow, travelled to the airport in his uniform while on sick leave on 23 November last year to collect six kilograms of cocaine from smuggler Camilo Alec Pulido-Suarez, 37, after he had disembarked from a Colombian flight.

The pair were arrested in a toilet in Terminal 5 of the airport where Iqbal had given Pulido-Suarez a razor blade to remove the cocaine from a concealed compartment of his suitcase.

Wilmer Salazar-Duarte, 44, was to be involved in collecting the drugs from the airport and repacking them for distribution. He was arrested by officers in the arrivals area of the airport.

His brother, Alexander Salazar-Duarte, 47, was arrested following a search at an address in east London. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Russell Tyner, from the CPS, said: “Farhan Iqbal was a valuable asset to the organised crime group because he had privileged access to the airside areas of Heathrow Airport. He abused his position to allow the other men to smuggle cocaine from Colombia.

“This was a sophisticated operation and each defendant played a role in the conspiracy.

“Three of the defendants pleaded guilty but Iqbal denied involvement. However, thanks to CPS prosecutors and the National Crime Agency working together to build a strong case, the jury found him guilty."

Iqbal was sentenced to 13 years in prison, Wilmer Salazer-Duarte was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison and Pulido-Suarez was sentenced to five years and three months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Notes to editors

  • Russell Tyner is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division
  • Farhan Iqbal (24/12/1986) was found guilty of one count of conspiring fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of a controlled drug of class A, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
  • Camilo Alec Pulido-Suarez (28/7/1980) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of a controlled drug of class A, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and one charge of fraudulent evasion of a prohibition, contrary to section 170(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979
  • Wilmer Salazar-Duarte (15/01/1974) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of a controlled drug of class A, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
  • Alexander Salazar-Duarte (1/6/1971) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of a controlled drug of class A, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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