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Business class airline steward smuggled heroin from Dubai

Zohaab Sadique

[A] former airline steward caught with a kilo of heroin at Manchester airport has been jailed for eight years following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

Zohaab Sadique, 30, of Broadway, Chadderton, Oldham, flew to Dubai on an Emirates Airline flight in January last year and picked up the drugs.

He smuggled them back on the return flight, during which he served food and drink to business class passengers.

He was arrested shortly after landing when Border Force officers and a detector dog carried out checks on the cabin crew, including a search of the bus that transferred them from the plane to the terminal.

The officers found a white carrier bag with five clear bags of brown powder stuffed behind Sadique’s seat, while the bus’s CCTV footage caught Sadique hiding the bag on board.

The investigation was taken on by NCA officers who found several pictures of heroin on Sadique’s mobile phone.

He was sentenced yesterday at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to avoid trial.

Jon Hughes, operations manager at the NCA, said: “Zohaab Sadique attempted to use his privileged access and knowledge of the systems in place at the airport for criminal purposes.

“Corrupt insiders like him are very dangerous people, and provide an important service to the organised criminal networks involved in smuggling drugs and other illicit commodities into the UK. This is why tackling corruption at the border is such a priority for us.

“The close partnership between the NCA and Border Force was crucial to this investigation, and by putting Sadique behind bars we have protected the public.”

Paul Airlie, Deputy Director of Border Force North, said: “The expertise of Border Force officers – and our detector dogs – stopped a significant amount of dangerous drugs reaching our streets and was the crucial first step in bringing Sadique to justice.

“This case shows that there is no one type of drug smuggler and Border Force officers need to remain vigilant at all times to prevent illegal importations, no matter how well they are concealed or who by.

“We will continue working closely with our law enforcement partners like the NCA to tackle drug smuggling and bring those responsible to justice.”

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