15/08/2008

Drugs Bust Pair In Court

It has been revealed that a package containing around 2kgs of cocaine - with a street value of between £80,000 and £100,000 - has been seized at Belfast International Airport.

The drugs, concealed in 200 small packages, were discovered at the airport last weekend.

Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have arrested two men in connection with the seizure on Saturday, August 9.

The men were charged with attempting to smuggle the illegal drugs into the UK and appeared before Coleraine Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where they were remanded in custody to re-appear at Antrim Magistrates Court on September 9.

Adam Ruczaj (27) and Tomasz Ciulwik (28) from Poland were intercepted on their arrival at Belfast on a flight from Amsterdam.

This is just the latest seizure of the drug at the airport in recent months.

Earlier this summer a woman was rushed to hospital after suspected cocaine crammed into condoms apparently burst inside her stomach.
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"Drug smuggling is a very serious offence that has a significant and damaging effect on all our communities, and multi-agency co-operation plays a vital role in the fight to prevent illegal drugs from entering the UK," said John Whiting, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation with HM Revenue & Customs.

Meanwhile, three Englishmen convicted of the Irish Republic's largest drugs shipment in its history are to appeal their convictions and sentences.

Martin Wanden, Perry Wharrie and Joe Daly were all jailed in July last year for smuggling €440m of cocaine off the west Cork coast.

Wanden, of no fixed abode, and Wharrie, of Loughton, Essex, were both jailed for 30 years and Daly, Carrisbrook Ave, Bexley, Kent, was jailed for 25 years.

All three have now lodged appeals with the Irish Court of Criminal Appeal against their convictions and sentences, in an attempt to have them reduced or even revoked.

All were convicted by unanimous verdict by a jury of nine men and two women who spent over seven hours considering evidence from some 300 witnesses.

(BMcC)

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