London. A British Indian couple have been convicted of exporting more than half a tonne of cocaine worth £57 million to Australia. Investigation found that through their conspiracy, drugs were sent by plane in a metal toolbox. Following a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, a jury convicted Aarti Dheer, 59, and Kawaljitsingh Raizada, 35, of 12 counts of exportation and 18 counts of money laundering.
A married couple from Hanwell, in the Ealing district of west London, who denied exporting cocaine to Australia and laundering money, will be sentenced today. Dheer and Raizada were identified by National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators after they were seized with cocaine by Australian Border Force upon arrival in Sydney in May 2021.
The drugs were sent via a commercial flight from the UK and consisted of six metal toolboxes, which when opened were found to contain 514 kg of cocaine. The officers discovered that the consignment belonged to Dheer and Raizada, who had set up a front company called Wifly Freight Services for the sole purpose of smuggling drugs.
The NCA said in a statement issued on Monday that both the defendants have been directors of the company at different times since its formation in June 2015. Raizada’s fingerprints were found on the plastic wrapping of a metal toolbox containing the drugs seized, while receipts for orders for toolboxes worth £2855 were found at the couple’s home.
The NCA claimed that 37 consignments have been sent to Australia since June 2019, of which 22 were fake runs and 15 contained cocaine. According to the crime agency, the duo used their knowledge of the airport’s freight handling procedures to cover up the criminal activities.
NCA senior investigating officer Piers Phillips said, “Aarti Dhir and Kawaljitsingh Raizada used their insider knowledge of the air freight industry to smuggle millions of pounds worth of cocaine from the UK to Australia, where they knew they could make their revenues. can be maximized.”
Phillips said, “They kept their illegal profits in the form of cash in their home and in storage units, as well as purchased property, gold and silver in an effort to hide their wealth. These defendants may have thought they were involved in the drug trade. They have turned away from the suffering it caused, but their greed was fueling it.”
Dheer and Raizada were arrested from their home in Hanwell on June 21, 2021. A search of his premises turned up £5,000 worth of gold-plated silver bars, £13,000 inside the house and £60,000 in cash in a safety deposit box. Following the investigation, the pair were arrested again in February, 2023 and this time officers found approximately three million pounds of cash hidden in boxes and suitcases in a storage unit in Hanwell, which Raizada rented in her mother’s name. Had taken.
The inquiry found that he had also bought a flat in Ealing for £800,000 and a Land Rover for £62,000, while declaring profits of only a few thousand pounds to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Investigation revealed that both the defendants had cash in bank accounts which was much more than their declared income. He stashed around £740,000 in cash in 22 different bank accounts since 2019 and was charged with money laundering.