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Heroin smuggler bound for Ireland is scuppered by whisky receipt, gets 12 years

A MAN who claimed to know nothing about £3m worth of heroin in his lorry was caught out when he put a receipt for a bottle of whisky he’d bought next to his hidden load.

Lithuanian national Edmundas Bruzas, 56, of Arklow, Co. Wicklow, denied any knowledge of the drugs when questioned by Border Force officers at the Port of Immingham, Lincolnshir.

He claimed he was carrying strawberries bound for Ireland and that he was not present when the cargo was loaded in Rotterdam.

However, he was scuppered when a receipt for a bottle of whisky he had bought — which showed his credit card details — was found next to the 60 tape-wrapped blocks of heroin.

At Grimsby Crown Court on Monday, Bruzas admitted smuggling the drugs and was sentenced to 12 years and six months.

“It was impossible for Bruzas not to know his cab had heroin in it,” said National Crime Agency (NCA) operations manager Carl Barrass.

“And when he realised we’d found his credit card receipt next to the drugs he had no option but to admit his guilt.”

Whisky admission

On March 25 this year, Bruzas arrived at Immingham from Rotterdam and was quizzed by Border Force officers.

He declared 200 cigarettes and a bottle of Grant’s Triple Wood Scotch Whisky that he had bought on an outbound ferry before collecting the strawberries.

Searching the heavy goods vehicle, Border Force officers noticed something wrong with part of the refrigeration unit and discovered the blocks of heroin weighing 30 kilos.

Next to them were seven carrier bags in a concealed area.

Border Force referred the find to the NCA and an investigation was launched.

In custody, Bruzas said he knew nothing about the drugs and answered questions in two separate interviews.

He admitted buying the whisky but said he didn’t know what he’d done with the receipt.

When it was put to him that officers had found the receipt bearing his credit card details in a carrier bag next to the heroin, he refused to answer any more questions.

Officers also discovered three mobile phones, a SIM card and a Post-it note bearing the question: “Are Customs doing a check on you?”

Significant haul

“Bruzas’s conviction removes a drugs smuggler from an organised crime group which has also lost a significant amount of money that would have been ploughed back into further offending,” added Barrass.

“With partners such as Border Force and UK policing, the NCA leads the UK’s fight against Class A drugs which cause huge damage to our communities.”

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