A dad-of-three has been jailed for six years after he smuggled £160,000 worth of cocaine into the UK – in PASTIES.
Dane Hamilton, 33, was stopped and searched at Birmingham Airport after arriving on a flight from Jamaica on August 2 last year.
Officers discovered a box of Jamaican patties, a type of savoury pasty, in his hand luggage.
There were only 10 in the box instead of 12 and when officers examined them they were found to contain small packets of cocaine instead of meaty filling.
The drugs weighed a total of 1.5 kilos and would have been worth approximately £160,400 if cut and sold on the street.
A jury sitting at Birmingham Crown Court unanimously convicted Hamilton, a Jamaican national, of drugs smuggling on Friday following a two-day trial.
Sentencing him to six years in prison, Judge Michael Chambers QC said it was a “sophisticated” crime and others must have been involved.
He told him: “There is a clear inference that you were doing it for substantial gain given the risks you clearly took.”
Hamilton, from Wolverhampton, West Mids., said he had been visiting his mother after paying £1,000 for a ticket and had no idea what was inside the patties.
Jabeen Akhtar, defending, said there was no evidence Hamilton had been involved in any element of the criminal enterprise, other than bringing the drugs to the UK.
She added that he had not sought to blame others.
After sentencing, Dawn Cartwright, from the Border Force, said: “This was an unusual concealment but our officers are trained to expect the unexpected.
“The sentence handed out to Hamilton should serve as a warning to others thinking of smuggling drugs.
“You will be caught and you will be sent to jail. Drug smuggling is a vile trade and ruins lives.”
Smuggling class A drugs into the UK carries a minimum sentence of three years and six months and a maximum sentence of 16 years under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.