British Couple Could Face Death Penalty For Allegedly Smuggling £2m Of Heroin
Mohammed Tahir Ayaz, 26 and wife Ikra Hussain, 20 were both named by authorities in Pakistan after they were arrested at Sialkot international airport.
They were on the first part of their journey back to the UK via Dubai when police suspected they had drugs on them.
They were found to have around 25 kilograms of 'fine quality heroin' which had been hidden in women's clothing. The heroin was split in different packages and then divided between the clothes.
They were removed from their luggage and put in to blue carrier bags to be weighed.
The couple then allegedly admitted to security officials that they were planning on taking the drugs to the UK from Pakistan, before handing them over to the Anti Narcotics Force who are looking in to the incident.
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The couple are facing the death penalty or life imprisonment if they are convicted of smuggling the substance.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "We are urgently seeking more information from the Pakistani authorities following reported arrests of a British couple."
Since 2001 Pakistan has followed a 'zero tolerance policy' toward poppy cultivation on its territory - the plant that heroin is made from. The policy is built around law enforcement and has been largely successful, with almost all of the poppy farms eradicated in the country.
But its location makes it more vulnerable to drug trafficking. It borders Afghanistan, which is the world's largest producer of illicit opium.
In 2016-17 alone, authorities in Pakistan seized a total of 2860 metric tons of narcotics. The figure is expected to rise in view of huge increase in poppy cultivation this year in Afghanistan, a development which poses enhanced interdiction challenges for Pakistan's law enforcement agencies.
Back in July, a group of three men from Luton and Birmingham were jailed for a combined total of 45 years after sending heroin from Pakistan to the UK through the post.
When the trio were handed their sentences, Dan Scully, Border Force Deputy Director Intelligence Operations, said: "Drug smuggling is a serious crime causing real harm to the UK. Those engaged in it will always look for new ways to evade detection. Border Force's challenge is to stay one step ahead of those who seek to harm our communities.
"In this case concealed heroin was detected by our diligent and professional Border Force officers at a number of ports. Our intelligence teams established a link between the various attempts to import illegal narcotics into the UK and that evidence supported the dismantling of an organised crime group."
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