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Canadian Woman Busted Trying to Smuggle £110,000 Worth of Cannabis into the UK Now Faces a Lengthy Prison Sentence

Canadian Woman Busted Trying to Smuggle £110,000 Worth of Cannabis into the UK Now Faces a Lengthy Prison Sentence

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A Canadian woman has been arrested at Glasgow Airport on suspicion of attempting to smuggle Cannabis worth as much as £110,000 (US $136,000) into the United Kingdom after Customs officers became suspicious when she claimed she was going to catch an Uber to London from Glasgow.

22-year-old Alisha Penney was arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 17.20kg of Cannabis on February 5, 2024, and is still being held on remand in prison as the court case continues.

Unlike in Canada, Cannabis remain strictly prohibited in the United Kingdom. Although it’s relatively easy to get hold of, the drug is officially a Class B narcotic, which means that attempting to import Cannabis carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

To get to Glasgow, Penny first flew from Toronto to Frankfurt before jumping on a second plane to the Scottish city. That routing made the UK Border Force suspicious, and she was referred to Customs for an examination.

Penney told the Customs officers that she was going to be in the UK for around six days and planned to visit her family in London. When asked how she intended to get to London, she said she was going to catch an Uber for the 7-hour drive, covering a distance of 414 miles.

Uber estimates that the fare could cost as much as £800 one-way.

Penney then told the Customs Officers that a stranger who had been introduced by a friend had given her a bag at Toronto Airport to bring with her. When questioned, she admitted that there might be ‘weed’ inside the bag but said she wasn’t aware of anything in her luggage that was prohibited in the UK.

Inside the bag, Customs Officers found 35 sealed packages containing cannabis with a total weight of 17.20kg. Officials estimate that the Cannabis could have a street value of £110,500.

The National Crime Agency and Border Force have seen a surge in young and otherwise law-abiding US and Canadian citizens trying to import Cannabis into the UK over the last 18 months.

Because the drug is grown legally in many parts of the US and Canada, the quality is much higher than what is available in the UK and, therefore, commands a much higher price.

The NCA initially saw an unusual rise in cannabis smuggling from Los Angeles last year, and Border Force had been paying a lot of attention to direct flights from the Californian city.

The smuggling gangs quickly adapted their methods and started to send mules to smaller airports where they believed there would be fewer resources to catch the imports. In some cases, smugglers fly to a main hub like London Heathrow before immediately jumping on a connecting domestic flight to a smaller airport.

In other cases, like Penney’s case, smugglers connect through Europe before flying into the UK. Penney is due to be sentenced next month.

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