A smuggler has been jailed for more than six years for his role in a conspiracy which saw £16,000 of opium concealed inside mechanical steel cogs brought into the UK.
Saleshi Mohsen Siavashani, 39, was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of conspiring to import Class A drugs after UK Border Force officials at Heathrow Airport intercepted packages on Christmas Day which were stuffed with 1.65kg of opium.
The Class A drugs had been carefully concealed inside two cast steel mechanical gears, weighing around 21kg each.
As the drugs had been addressed to a property in the North East, Border Force officials liaised with officers at Northumbria Police and an investigation was quickly launched.
Siavashan and his partner Kimberley Jo Ozbey, were arrested in January 2018 along with Bahman Aghdam, the man who answered the door and accept delivery of the parcel.
All three suspects were later charged with Conspiracy to Evade a Prohibition and on September 20 Siavashani was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Aghdam, 49, of Brandling Street, Sunderland ,and Ozbey, 32, of South View Terrace in Swalwell, were found not guilty.
Yesterday (Tuesday) Siavashani, of South View Terrace in Swalwell, was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court for six and a half years.
Detective Inspector Don Gibson, of Northumbria Police’s Priority and Organised Crime team, said: “This was a very complex investigation which saw us working closely with our colleagues at the UK Border Force Agency.
“It is only right that Saleshi Siavashani was jailed for is role in this conspiracy and I hope this acts as a warning to anyone who thinks they are above the law.
“I would like to thank my team who carried out months of hard work and helped bring this individual to justice.
“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel we will continue to pursue offenders and disrupt criminals who seek to make a profit from selling illicit substances on our streets.”