Canadian man jailed after smuggling £300k of cannabis into Scotland

Pawlo Albanskyi was stopped at Aberdeen Airport where 33 kilos of herbal cannabis were found packed in his suitcases.

Canadian man jailed after smuggling almost £300k of herbal cannabis through Aberdeen Airport National Crime Agency

A Canadian man who was caught flying into Aberdeen Airport with almost 33 kilos of cannabis has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Pawlo Albanskyi, 29, from Mississauga near Toronto, was stopped at customs by Border Force Officers as he arrived on a flight from Toronto via Amsterdam.

He was asked what was in his suitcases and said they contained clothes belonging to both himself and his sister who he was planning to visit in Slough.

He had been due to fly to Birmingham but had been re-routed to Aberdeen following flight delays.

The suitcases were forced open after Albanskyi claimed to not know the padlock codes.

Just two T-shirts and 33 kilos of herbal cannabis packed into individual bags were found inside.

A joint investigation was launched by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) Scotland, which is comprised of the National Crime Agency and Police Scotland.

OCP officers forensically examined the drugs, which were found to consist of ten individual plastic bags further sub-divided into smaller bags.

The drugs would have been worth £295,000 at street value.

When his phone was examined, it was revealed that Albanskyi had been acting as a courier of the drugs in return for payment.

During a hearing at Edinburgh High Court on March 8, Albanskyi pleaded guilty to involvement in the supply of cannabis.

He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison on Wednesday.

NCA senior officer Peter Taylor described how Albanskyi “brazenly” carried the drugs with “no attempts to conceal what was inside”.

He said: “The work of the OCP Scotland team meant that these clearly prepared drugs never ended up at their intended destination in England.

“We will continue our work in our partnership with Police Scotland, and working closely with Border Force, to target and disrupt drug couriers and the gangs behind them.”

Detective sergeant Stuart Boyle added: “Albanskyj’s conviction and sentencing is another example of our ongoing commitment to target those who try to distribute large amounts of controlled drugs for financial gain. This remains an absolute priority for the Organised Crime Partnership and its partners.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that information from our local communities is an essential part of our investigation process, as we work to disrupt the drugs trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

David Green, Procurator Fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: “Justice does not stop at the border.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to protecting our society from harm and will continue to work with enforcing authorities using every avenue available to bring criminals to justice in Scotland.

“We will target all those who threaten communities across Scotland, not only drug couriers but also those who direct their movements. With each case of this kind, we can help reduce the harm these drugs do to those communities.” 

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