A man who attempted to smuggle heroin worth almost a quarter of a million pounds into the UK has been jailed following a National Crime Agency investigation.
Aleksandar Kuzmanovic, 27, from Austria, was stopped at Dover Eastern Docks where he was a passenger in a lorry travelling from Belgium.
The cab of the vehicle was searched by Border Force officials and a bag was discovered with a number of cling film packages inside.
The packages were tested by experts who found they contained almost five kilos of heroin with a purity of between 38% and 53%. The drugs would have been worth at least £238,000 at street level.
Kuzmanovic admitted at the scene that the drugs were his and his wallet was also found inside the bag.
He stated that he believed the drugs were cannabis and was transporting them to pay off debts.
Kuzmanovic pleaded guilty to attempting to import a class A drug on 28 September.
NCA branch commander Mark Howes said: “This was a crude attempt to bring heroin into the UK with Kuzmanovic making very minimal attempts to hide his drug smuggling.
“Heroin ends up in the hands of county lines gangs, bringing violence and exploitation to the streets.
“We will continue to work closely with our Border Force partners to disrupt the supply of heroin into the country from our borders.”
He was sentenced to five years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday (9 March).
Dave Smith, Regional Director Border Force South East & Europe, said: “The sentencing of Aleksandar Kuzmanovic this week is the result of hard work and dedication from Border Force and the National Crime Agency to secure the UK’s borders and prosecute those that seek to smuggle illegal drugs into the country.
“Border Force’s work with the NCA to stop drugs entering the UK is a core part of the Government’s 10-year drug strategy to cut crime and save lives.”
“Those involved can be proud of their work and particularly those officers that intercepted and stopped this dangerous drug from entering our communities.”