26 March 2018
A man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after an investigation by the National Crime Agency into a seizure of heroin worth around £3 million.
Lukasz Wojciech Mietelsk (below right)i, aged 35 and from Krasocin in Poland, was driving a freight vehicle from Poland to London when the vehicle was stopped and searched by Border Force officers in Dover on 2 November 2016.
As they searched the vehicle’s trailer, officers discovered a spare wheel, which had packages concealed inside containing a brown powder.
When tested, the powder was found to be heroin. 30 packages were seized, each containing around a kilo of heroin.
Mietelski and his co-driver Sylwester Grzegorz Kusmierczyk, aged 43, were arrested and subsequently charged. Both pleaded not guilty at court.
NCA investigators used tachograph data to show that the vehicle stopped in Breda, in the Netherlands, the same place Mietelski had admitted the spare wheel containing the drugs had been put on.
On Monday 19 March, after a five day trial at Canterbury Crown Court Mietelski was found guilty of the importation of controlled drugs and jailed for 14 years.
Kusmierczyk was found not guilty.
Senior Investigation Officer, Mark Harding, said: “Drugs misuse resulted in 2,383 deaths in England in 2016, the majority attributed to heroin.
“Organised crime groups rely on traffickers like Mietelski, his was a vital role in a much larger criminal chain. In this case it was drugs but criminal networks use the same methods to smuggle other commodities, including people, firearms and laundered cash.
“The NCA works closely with partners like Border Force to protect the UK from the crime, violence and exploitation caused by those who threaten our border. It is therefore satisfying when those responsible are punished by the courts with lengthy prison sentences.”
Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe, said:
“This 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.
“We are determined to tackle smuggling of all kinds – whether weapons, tobacco, stowaways or drugs – and to bring those responsible to justice.”