A Dutch drug smuggler who swallowed over 1kg of cocaine worth an estimated £80,000 been jailed for 4 years.
Henry Michael Penijn, 36, who lived in the Netherlands with no fixed abode, was investigated by the National Crime Agency after flying from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, into Gatwick Airport on 12 December 2020.
Shortly after being stopped by Border Force, Penijn admitted that he had swallowed more than 90 packages of cocaine, though he gave no explanation as to why he’d done it.
After having the drugs tested, NCA investigators found the cocaine was 64% pure, and would have been worth in excess of £80,000 if cut and sold on British streets.
Penijn appeared at Lewes Crown Court on 19 January 2021, where he was sentenced to four years in prison, having entered a guilty plea to importing class A drugs.
NCA Branch Commander Mark McCormack said: “Organised crime groups need couriers like Penijn to bring their illicit commodities into the UK. 93 packages of cocaine is a significant amount for one person to swallow, and for that reason we suspect that this may not have been Penijn’s first time.
“It is also an extremely dangerous method to use. If any one of those packages had split or burst the consequences would likely have been fatal.
“The class A drugs trade is almost always linked to serious and organised crime, with local communities and the people within them suffering as a result."
Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, Chris Philp, said: “This case shows the desperate lengths drug smugglers are prepared to go, with potentially devastating consequences.
“Thankfully, Border Force officers were able to stop this individual and prevent this dangerous substance from reaching our streets. We will continue to work with our partners, including the NCA, to tackle drug smuggling and bring those responsible to justice.”