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Sentencing postponed as cocaine-smuggling sailboat captain undergoes surgery

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Woman carrying cannabis bricks in bogus baby belly arrested by Argentine police

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cannabis bricks in bogus baby belly

Law enforcement officers in Argentina have arrested a woman close to the South American country’s border with Chile for attempting to smuggle cannabis concealed inside a fake baby bump.

The woman was searched after police discovered that her travelling companion was in possession of a smaller quantity of cannabis while the pair were on a long-distance coach journey from the city of Mendoza to Caleta Olivia in province of Santa Cruz.

After stopping the pair at a police checkpoint in Valle de Uco close to Mendoza, police found that the woman had hidden 15 packages of cannabis in her bogus baby bump.

The man with whom she was travelling was discovered to be in possession of two packages of the drug in his hand luggage.

Police stopped the pair while conducting routine checks on passengers using the coach route.

In total, the woman and the man were found to be carrying in excess of 4.5kgs of cannabis.

The improvised fake pregnancy bump was held together with a starch-based paste and secured to the woman’s stomach to make it appear as though she was with child.

Posting a picture of the fake baby belly on Twitter, Argentine security minister Patricia Bullrich told her followers: “She made a belly with glue, and hid 15 packages of marijuana inside it while pretending to be pregnant and attempted to move it from Mendoza to Santa Cruz .

“Police arrested the false pregnant woman and her accomplice, preventing her from trafficking the drugs she was carrying.”

In a statement, Argentine police said: “While carrying out control checks, officers stopped a group travelling from Mendoza to Caleta Olivia.

“During the inspection, police observed that a passenger was carrying a black bag that contained two brick-like packages.

“Continuing with their inspection, officers came across a young woman who had a lump in her belly, pretending to be pregnant.

“The two passengers were asked to get off the bus and were later arrested.”

In September 2013, the BBC reported that police in Colombia had arrested a Canadian woman when she attempted to board a flight to Toronto while wearing a fake baby belly that was filled with cocaine.

Police said the woman was searched after she became agitated when asked by a customs officer how far along she was with her pregnancy.

She was found be carrying two sealed bags that contained 2kgs of cocaine.

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Dutch trucker charged with drug trafficking after UK customs find huge haul of cocaine wrapped in frozen meat

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Officers from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) have charged a Dutch truck driver with attempting to smuggle cocaine worth an estimated £20 million ($25.7 million) into Britain while it was hidden in frozen meat.

The agency, which is often referred to as the UK’s equivalent of the FBI, launched an investigation after customs officers stopped the driver’s truck when it arrived at Harwich International Port in Essex on a ferry from the Hook of Holland on Monday.

While inspecting the load the truck was carrying, investigators discovered multiple packages containing a total of over 200kgs of cocaine that had been wrapped in frozen meat.

The driver, named as 48-year-old Robert Tromp from the Netherlands, was charged with an importation offence, and appeared before Colchester magistrates on Tuesday, where he was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Chelmsford Crown Court on 12 December.

Commenting on Tromp’s arrest, NCA Branch Commander Jacque Beer said: “While forensic checks are still being carried out on this seizure, it is likely that the total haul would have had a street value in excess of £20 million once cut and sold at a street purity level.

“Our investigation into those responsible is continuing, but we can say that this will have put a big dent in the profits of the criminal network likely to be behind it and caused them substantial disruption.

“The illicit drug trade is a key driver behind the gang violence and exploitation we see on UK streets, which is why we, along with partners like Border Force, are determined to do all we can to stop drugs at source and protect the public. This was an excellent detection by our Border Force colleagues.”

Drug traffickers routinely hide their illicit shipments in consignments of food, not least on account of the fact that perishable goods are often fast-tracked through customs checks.

At the end of last month, two drug traffickers from the Netherlands were jailed for a total of more than 11 years by a UK court for attempting to smuggle more than half a tonne of cannabis into Britain by hiding it in consignments of grated pizza cheese and salad.

Dominic Leema and Henrik Ruben were caught after trying to smuggle the drugs through the port of Dover in the south of England, and were said to have been part of a wider organised crime network that used an industrial estate unit to extract the cannabis from the cheese.

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Dutch female Olympic sprinter jailed for more than eight years in Germany after being caught with ecstasy and crystal meth

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Dutch female Olympic sprinter jailed for more than eight years

A court in Germany has jailed a female Olympic sprinter from the Netherlands for 8.5 years after finding her guilty of drug smuggling offences.

Madiea Ghafoor, 27, who was part of the Dutch squad at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, was arrested in June of this year in the German border town Elten while in possession of ecstasy tablets and crystal methamphetamine estimated to be worth some €2 million ($2.19 million) in the boot of her car.

In total, Ghafoor was found to be transporting 13.19kgs of crystal methamphetamine and 43.34kgs of ecstasy, prosecutors said.

The sprinter, who was pulled over by police in a routine traffic stop, was also found to be in possession of €12,000 in cash.

Her lawyer, who claimed that Ghafoor was unaware of the contents of the packages she was transporting, has said she plans to appeal her sentence, which was higher than the 7.5 years prosecutors had asked for.

Ghafoor, a Dutch sprinting champion at both 100 and 400 metres, claimed she had agreed to carry the packages she was caught with in exchange for performance enhancing drugs after her form dropped off, but had no idea of nature of the illicit nature of the consignment she was transporting.

Speaking with German tabloid newspaper Bild, her lawyer said: “Due to a form-low in the World Cup preparations, she had turned to dodgy circles to obtain performance enhancing drugs.

“Part of the payment was that she takes a larger amount of these substances to Germany. She wanted to have herself doped there.”

The lawyer said that after picking the drugs up from a café in the Netherlands, Ghafoor drove to Germany, where she expected to be introduced to a doctor who specialised in providing performance enhancing drugs for athletes.

The Amsterdam-born sprinter is reported to have hoped that using performance enhancing drugs would help her qualify for the World Championships in Qatar this September.

It was argued in court that the quantity of drugs Ghafoor was carrying indicted they were not for personal use.

She could have faced a maximum sentence of 15 years behind bars.

Last month, the Glasgow Evening Times reported that a Scottish footballer who turned to drugs after his career was cut short by cancer had been spared jail after being caught with cocaine worth an estimated £30,000 ($38,718).

David Fraser, 23, was given a community payback order as an alternative to jail.

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