24 November 2014
A man has been arrested by National Crime Agency investigators after 15 kilos of heroin were discovered hidden in three crates which were being used to transport live domestic cats from South Africa to the UK.
The alarm was raised on Friday 21 November when staff at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre noticed one of the crates was unusually heavy when empty.
They called in Border Force officers, who examined the crates and located packages of powder in the base.
Tests showed the powder was heroin.
National Crime Agency officers attended the centre and later arrested 43-year-old Scott Parker, a London-born dual national now resident in Gauteng, South Africa, as he arrived to collect the cats.
He was charged with importing a class A drug and appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates on Saturday 22 November. Parker was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 4 December.
The cats are now being reunited with their owners.
Paul Bolton, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said:
“This was an unusual concealment and if sold in the UK the heroin would have had a value of in excess of £750,000.
“Working with Border Force we will continue to target those who attempt to bring illegal drugs into the UK and do damage to communities.”
Border Force Heathrow Director Marc Owen said:
“Border Force works closely with law enforcement colleagues, including the NCA, to prevent drug trafficking and do all we can to put those responsible behind bars.
“Those who engage in drug smuggling should be in no doubt that they will be targeted and brought to justice."