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NRI jailed for sneaking drugs into passengers' bags

By H S Rao
August 07, 2004 20:06 IST
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A Non-Resident Indian baggage handler at Heathrow airport has been given an exemplary 19-year jail sentence for a plot to smuggle nine kilograms of cocaine in the luggage of unwitting passengers.

Kamaljit Bassi of Hayes, Middlesex, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to import controlled drugs worth about ₤650,000 (about Rs 55.5 million) on Wednesday after a three-month trial at Guildford crown court.

Sentencing Bassi yesterday, Judge Peter Testar told him: "What you did was extremely serious because you were prepared to commit the most appalling breach of trust."

His co-defendants Junior Royes, 39, of Kensal Green, west London, and Brian Emile, 49, of Greenford, west London were both jailed for 17

years each.

Bassi, 40, who wore a jacket and shirt and spectacles, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down. The judge told the three that a civilised society must do everything possible to stamp out the trade in Class A drugs.

"Each of you three made the deliberate decision to make a profit for himself out of this obscene traffic and now you must pay the price," he said.

The passengers in whose luggage the drugs were found -- Carlton Joseph, 54, of Harringay, north London, and Rachelle Chapman, 19, a child-minder from Balham, south London -- were cleared of conspiracy.
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H S Rao
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