Rise in Cali Weed Busts at Heathrow

Liz Filmer
31 Jan 2023

Security checks will be increased for travellers flying into London from Los Angeles  after a series of cannabis-smuggling detentions. At least 11 passengers have been apprehended and charged with endeavouring to import cannabis into the UK in eight days this January, according to the National Crime Agency

More than 400kg of cannabis has been seized since 10 January. The sun-grown "Cali" variety often holds a higher price than strains grown on UK shores.

A News report in 2016 indicated that British cannabis users would often pay considerably more for what they see as a premium imported product.

Listed as a Class B drug, smuggling cannabis into the UK is a criminal offence which can fetch you a 14 years sentence, a significant fine, or both.

The NCA warning comes after eleven US citizens were caught at Heathrow Airport with cannabis concealed within their checked-in luggage and were held on suspicion of drug smuggling.

"Couriers who bring illicit substances into the UK play an important role in fuelling organised crime; consequently, those caught face stiff jail sentences. It simply isn't worth the risk."

In similar news, an American man stopped with 32 kilograms of cannabis in his suitcase at Belfast City Airport was given a two-year sentence.

Akintunde Akinwande, from California, was apprehended by police after arriving on a flight from London on 28 March 2022.

Akintunde Akinwande's suitcase contained 64 vacuum-packed bags of cannabis, amounting to 32 kilograms. He told police he was not aware that he was transporting drugs. Instead, he told a Probation officer he had got involved with the wrong crowd who coerced him into carrying them in exchange for money.

In light of this series of recent seizures, police are expected to increase their attention and step up checks on passengers arriving in London from Los Angeles. NCA Heathrow Branch Commander Andy Noyes 
cautioned possible offenders to think carefully about the consequences before agreeing to carry anything for anyone.

Liz Filmer