Mother jailed for smuggling £78k cocaine

A NIGERIAN businesswoman who tried to smuggle £78,000 worth of cocaine into the UK through Stansted Airport has been jailed for six years.A suitcase belonging to mother-of-four Noyimat Salau was searched by customs officers after they noticed it was suspiciously heavy, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Jane Hunt

A NIGERIAN businesswoman who tried to smuggle £78,000 worth of cocaine into the UK through Stansted Airport has been jailed for six years.

A suitcase belonging to mother-of-four Noyimat Salau was searched by customs officers after they noticed it was suspiciously heavy, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Officers used an instrument to stab the contents of the suitcase and their suspicions were confirmed when a white powder was discovered.

A search of the suitcase revealed 1.97 kilos of cocaine of 62% purity with an estimated street value of £78,800, said Jonathan Rendle prosecuting.

Salau, 50, admitted attempting to illegally import drugs into the UK and was jailed for six years.

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Sentencing her, Judge Neil McKittrick said she had come to the UK from Nigeria via Turkey on November 4 last year and had acted as a “courier or mule” for a very substantial amount of cocaine.

He said if the defendant had not pleaded guilty to the offence and she had been found guilty after a trial she could have faced a prison sentence running into double figures.

Judge McKittrick said he would be making a recommendation that Salau should be deported from the UK and he confiscated £850 found on her when she was arrested under the Proceeds of Crime act.

Kevin Toomey, for Salau, said his client had four children aged 20, 17, 10 and eight who were all in Nigeria.

He said the defendant had come to the UK to buy cheap children's clothes which she then took back to Nigeria to sell.

Her husband had died three years ago and she had remarried a year ago, he said.

Before Salau left the UK for her business trip in November she had been given a bag by her husband to bring to the UK, the court heard

Mr Toomey said Salau had been in custody since her arrest.

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