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Friday, 24 July 2009

Iranian Music Teacher Jailed for Opium Smuggling

From The Evening Standard:

A music teacher who brought almost £200,000 of opium into Britain has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Jamshid Soltani-Tehrani, 47, of Hammersmith, pleaded guilty to smuggling 19.98 kilos of the drug into the country.

The Iranian national was caught after arriving at St Pancras Station on the Eurostar from Brussels in March.

UK Border Agency officers discovered the drugs stashed in a computer case Soltani-Tehrani was carrying and also in a bodypack around his midriff and arrested him. The seizure was the result of a joint Hammersmith council, Hammersmith police and central government operation to crack down on drugs and fraud.

Peter Avery, assistant director of HM Revenue and Customs criminal investigation, said: "Our investigators are determined to bring anyone involved in drug smuggling to justice.

"Drugs devastate lives and communities and we are determined to prevent them reaching UK streets."

Greg Smith, a Hammersmith councillor, today welcomed the sentence which he said contributed to making "the streets of Hammersmith and Fulham free of drugs and drug dealers". He added: "Around 80 per cent of our most prolific criminals are addicted to either opiates or crack cocaine, or both.

"Drugs destroy lives and we will continue to hound those who peddle them into submission."

Soltani-Tehrani was jailed at Isleworth crown court last week.

Opium, which contains morphine, is extracted from poppy seeds and used to produce heroin.

Controlling poppy fields is one of the key elements of the war in Afghanistan, where the drug is controlled by the Taliban.

The net weight of the opium he pleaded guilty to importing has been estimated to have a street value of £199,980.

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