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Drugs trafficker begins 10-year jail term

A drugs trafficker who tried to smuggle £2m worth of cocaine into the UK using suitcases with false bottoms has been jailed after a National Crime Agency investigation.

French national Christian Francois Agbo, 26, was sentenced to 10 years and four months behind bars on Friday at Manchester Crown Court after admitting trafficking 20kilograms of the class A.

He would have been jailed for 13 years if he was convicted after trial.

Border Force officers at Manchester Airport stopped Agbo on 19 September. He had travelled from Cotonou Airport, in Benin, via Brussels.

Agbo, of Le Puy, France, collected two identical silver suitcases from the checked-in baggage carousel and moved past the nothing to declare point where officers stopped him.

The suitcases contained hidden compartments where the drugs – which had a street value of around £2m – were stashed.

Border Force passed the seizure to the National Crime Agency to investigate.

He has been convicted for trafficking drugs before.

He was jailed in Italy in 2006 for nearly four years for importing class A from France.

NCA senior investigating officer Jon Hughes said: “Taking these drugs out of circulation punctures a hole in the organised crime group responsible for their trafficking and deprives them of money to fund further offending.

“Drugs fuel crime, violence and exploitation, and working with our partners the NCA will ensure drug dealers are stopped and punished.”

Liz Versi, director of Border Force North, said: “This was a sophisticated concealment in suitcases that had been specifically modified for smuggling purposes.

“It is another excellent example of Border Force officers preventing a sizeable quantity of class A drugs from ending up on the streets of the UK, where they cause significant harm to both individuals and communities.

“Working with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency (NCA) we are determined to do all we can to stop drug traffickers. Those convicted of drug importation offences face considerable prison sentences.”

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