Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Cocaine smuggler jailed after 'invisibility cloak' fails

A 46-year-old Spanish man who wrapped £500,000 of cocaine in carbon paper in an attempt to dodge X-ray detection has been jailed for six years.

Carlos Gutierrez Lopez attempted to smuggle over a kilo of cocaine into Northern Ireland in August 2008.

He was arrested by UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers at Belfast International Airport as he arrived on a flight from Amsterdam.

He appeared at Antrim Crown Court yesterday charged with attempting to smuggle 1.3 kilos of cocaine.

The court heard during questioning officers became suspicious of his reasons for travel. A luggage search revealed the cocaine hidden in the lining of his suitcase. The package had been covered with carbon paper in an attempt to hide it from X-ray detection.

John Whiting from HMRC said: “Mr Lopez has discovered the hard way that carbon paper doesn't provide a cloak of invisibility from detection. However this case does demonstrate that together our continuing successes are forcing the smugglers into ever more desperate, if unsuccessful, methods for concealment.

"Criminals dealing in illegal drugs are thinking solely of profit and show utter disregard for the damage drugs do to individuals and communities.

"HMRC continues to work with the police and other law enforcement agencies such as the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to protect the public from the significant and damaging effect drugs have on our communities."

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