A Nigerian air stewardess who tried to smuggle cocaine into the UK has been jailed for five and a half years.
Chinwendu Uwakaonyenma Ogbonnaya, 29, from Lagos had flown into London's Heathrow airport as a member of crew on an Arik Air flight from Lagos on 18th December 2011.
During searches by UK Border Agency officers at the airport's crew clearance facility, searches of her luggage revealed that she was carrying a rucksack with a false back.
Officers discovered packages of cocaine hidden behind the false back.
Forensic tests later showed the packages contained approximately 2kg of high purity cocaine, which if cut and sold on the UK streets would have had an estimated value of £250,000.
Ogbonnaya claimed that she had been given the bag by a friend and that she was unaware it contained drugs. She later pleaded guilty to attempting to import a class A drug, and a judge at Isleworth Crown court in west London on 2nd February 2012 sentenced her to five and a half years in prison.
She will also face deportation at the end of her sentence.
“The cocaine found here was of a very high purity and there is no doubt that had this woman not been stopped it would have ended up being cut and sold on the streets of London,” Assistant director Pete Avery, from the UK Border Agency's criminal and financial investigation team, said. “Ogbonnaya sought to abuse her position as a crew member by bringing these drugs in. As a result she now faces a long time away from home and behind bars.”