Man swallowed 39 bags of cocaine to try to smuggle them through Stansted Airport

Rogers Preston

Rogers Preston - Credit: Archant

A 23-year-old man who swallowed 39 bags of cocaine trying to smuggle them into Britain through Stansted Airport has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Preston Rogers from Basildon pleaded guilty to attempting to import cocaine worth £40,000.

Rogers was intercepted by Border Force officers at Stansted Airport on December 1 when he arrived on a flight from Lisbon. Rogers initially told officers that he was returning from a three day trip to Lisbon. However, when asked for his boarding pass he also produced an e-ticket showing a trip from Heathrow Airport to Sao Paulo, via Madrid, on November 22, with a return leg five days later.

When asked about entry and exit stamps in his passport confirming a journey from Brazil, Rogers admitted that he had left Sao Paulo the day before.

Rogers was taken to Harlow Hospital where a CT scan revealed he had swallowed foreign objects. He later passed 39 packages and the contents were confirmed as 311 grams of cocaine.

Rogers was questioned by officers from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command and charged with attempting to import a class A drug. Rogers, of no fixed address but previously of Waterville Drive, Basildon, pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court on January 7.

Phil Douglas, Border Force Heathrow director, said: “This case shows the extreme lengths that smugglers will go to in their attempts to bring class A drugs into the UK. Rogers was risking his life by swallowing packages. If just one had split it could have been fatal.”

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Border Force officers use high-tech equipment and search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners as well as visual searches to find drugs and also stowaways, firearms and tobacco.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.