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Americans who tried to smuggle drugs into Heathrow handed jail sentences

Two US nationals who attempted to bring suitcases full of cannabis into the UK through Heathrow airport have been handed jail sentences.

National Crime Agency officers opened an investigation into Pennsylvania-born construction worker Massa Momolu Talery, aged 32, after he was stopped at the airport’s Terminal 3 on 4th February.

He initially told border officers he was here for a two-week holiday, but packages containing 20 kilos of herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of £400,000 were found in his bags.

In interviews with NCA investigators he claimed he did it to pay off debts. 

He admitted the importation of class B drugs, and on Thursday 9 March a judge at Isleworth Crown Court gave him an eight month jail sentence.

The following day (Friday 10) a judge at the same court gave Gerard Jean-Leger, 26, from Massachusetts a ten month sentence for the same offence.

He was caught on the 19th January as he attempted to smuggle 27 kilos of cannabis into the UK on a flight from Los Angeles.

Once again the drugs were packed into suitcases he had checked in for the flight.

NCA Heathrow Branch Commander Andy Noyes: “Organised crime gangs need couriers like Talery and Jean-Leger to bring their illicit substances into the UK.

“Couriers are often recruited with promises of payment or free holidays.

“But in reality these attempts just end in jail sentences. I’d urge anyone considering smuggling cannabis into the UK, whether from the US or elsewhere, to think twice. It isn’t worth the risk.

“The NCA and our partners in Border Force are targeting drugs smugglers and will do all we can to disrupt the gangs involved.”

More than 25 US nationals have now been arrested at UK airports since the start of 2023, with eight convicted and sentenced to prison terms.

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