NRI Two Brothers found guilty of drugs offences in UK
Leicester, Dec. 01, 2009
The drugs concealed inside the wooden pallets
Two men have today been found guilty of drugs offences after it was discovered they were involved in importing millions of pounds worth of heroin into the country.
Babu Natha Day Sarasia (44) of HMP Welford Road and his brother Bharat Ram Sarasia, (45) of Darlington Road, Leicester have been on trial at Nottingham Crown Court charged with conspiracy to be knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods and conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Also on trial for the same offence was Rajesh Rathod (48) of Portmore Close, Beaumont Leys, who was found not guilty.
Babu Natha Day Sarasia was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and Bharat Ram Sarasia was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.
The court heard how the defendants had been involved in a criminal operation responsible for the importation of approximately 180 kilograms of heroin, with a potential street value of £12million.
The investigation began in July 2007 when officers from HM Revenue and Customs conducted a routine inspection of goods at a freight forwarding centre in Coleshill, Birmingham.
The consignment, which had come on a lorry from Istanbul, Turkey, contained two chiller units on wooden pallets, which had been specially constructed to conceal packages of heroin.
On examination by officers each of the pallets was found to contain 15 blocks of high grade compressed heroin, which totalled nearly 18 kilograms of heroin with a potential street value of £1.3million.
The heroin was removed from the pallets by customs officers. The pallets were then reconstructed and sent on to their intended destination in Leicester, being covertly tracked by police.
This led them to Sukie Motors, in Midland Street. Officers carried out a search of the premises on July 27, 2007 and discovered several chiller units and wooden pallets.
Further investigation by Leicestershire Police identified this was the 10th consignment of chiller units to have entered the country from Istanbul since February 2007. Eight of these consignments contained two chiller units, and two were single machines. They had all been destined for addresses in Leicester.
Rathod was arrested on July 27, 2007 at Sukie Motors as the pallets were delivered. Officers subsequently arrested Bharat Sarasia and Babu Sarasia, on August 8, 2007 and August 18, 2007 respectively.
Detective Constable Kevin Hames, from Leicestershire Constabulary said: “This was a well organised plot to smuggle large quantities of high grade heroin into the country and onto the streets of Leicestershire.
“The chiller units themselves cost between £2,500 and £4,000 each and were imported purely to cover up the drugs operation. They were not sold on or used for anything. The fact they were happy to spend between £40,000 and £80,000 just on hiding the drugs goes to show the size of the operation.
“Despite the inventive methods used to try and conceal the heroin, HM Revenue and Customs were still able to detect the drugs and alert our officers so we could launch an investigation to track down those responsible.
“It has been a long and complex investigation lasting more than two years and today’s result is testament to the hard work and dedication shown by the investigating team. I would also like to relay my thanks to the Crown Prosecution Service, who have been instrumental in bringing this organised crime group to justice.
“We hope this conviction shows the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that we are committed to doing all we can to fight the drugs menace that can blight our neighbourhoods.”
Jim Jarvie, Deputy Director representing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said: “This was a highly organised and sophisticated smuggling plot to bring a large quantity of Class A drugs into the UK.
“The skills of our officers allowed us to detect and seize the drugs despite the methods used to conceal them.
“We will continue to take strenuous and robust action to stem the flow of these dangerous drugs reaching our streets and work closely with partner law enforcement agencies to bring these criminals to justice.”......Leicestershire Constabulary