Airport cocaine smuggler is jailed

PUBLISHED: 12:57 20 September 2007 | UPDATED: 21:49 29 May 2010

A MIDDLE-aged Belgian man was jailed for 11 years on Friday after being caught trying to smuggle cocaine worth more than £850,000 into the UK. Yves Raoul Van Israel, an unemployed builder, was held by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers after he arrived

A MIDDLE-aged Belgian man was jailed for 11 years on Friday after being caught trying to smuggle cocaine worth more than £850,000 into the UK.

Yves Raoul Van Israel, an unemployed builder, was held by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers after he arrived at Stansted Airport on the evening of April 30.

The resident of Tinnen, Belgium, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Israel had been on an evening flight from Lyons in France and was found to be in possession of seven kilos of cocaine, with a street value of £860,000.

The drug was hidden in packages stored beneath a false bottom in his suitcase.

John Philips, HMRC acting Chief Investigation Officer at Ipswich, said: "Revenue & Customs is working at the forefront of the fight to stop drugs entering the UK and to reduce the associated harm to our communities.

"We aim to protect society from this activity wherever we detect it. The sentence handed down by the court should act as a deterrent to those involved in drug trafficking and clearly shows that crime doesn't pay.

"Smugglers face criminal prosecution followed by the removal of any financial benefits. If you know of any suspicious activities which may be linked to drug smuggling, call our 24-hour hotline on 0800 595000.

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