A doggy drug smuggler used by organised criminals to bring almost a million pounds worth of cocaine to the UK, is about to walk away from her life of crime, after being rescued by British law enforcement.
The National Crime Agency say two year old Camila was an “unwitting accomplice” in the operation to smuggle the class-A drug, worth more than £800,000 through Heathrow airport.
She was brought to the UK in May by Mexican criminal Jorge Pablo Samano Galas, 43.
On arrival at Heathrow, Animal Aircare Reception Centre staff carrying out standard welfare checks on the dog noticed that her crate felt unusually heavy, was oddly sized and smelt strongly of paint stripper.
Samano Galas sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison TODAY
They examined the crate and found 10 one kilogramme blocks of cocaine, hidden within a false base.
A National Crime Agency investigation was launched and Samano Galas was arrested when he arrived to collect Camila.
In a subsequent interview, the drug smuggle told NCA officers he had bought the dog from a rescue centre in Mexico a few weeks prior, and had booked a holiday in the UK so that they could “bond.”
Officers found that it had cost him over £3,000 to ship the dog, and a return journey had not been booked, suggesting that Camila might have been disposed of after the drug run.
Subsequent enquires showed multiple other inconsistencies in his account of the trip, including evidence that he had repeatedly changed his travel dates and route to the UK.
Samano Galas eventually pleaded guilty to importing class-A drugs. At Winchester Crown Court today, he was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison.
Camila has been looked after by staff at the reception centre since last May. One of the rescue centre staff has now agreed to adopt her.
NCA senior manager Darren Barr said: “This was a cynical attempt to bring hundreds of thousands of pounds of class-A drugs into the UK.
“Cocaine smugglers like Samano Galas play a crucial role in the business model of international organised crime groups, and their activities perpetuate violence and intimidation throughout the UK.
“While Samano Galas now faces prison, the story will have a happier ending for his unwitting accomplice Camila, who will spend the rest of her life in a happy home.”
Jake Holliday, Head of Animal Welfare at London Heathrow, said: “We decided to foster Camila while the NCA investigation was ongoing to ensure that she was given the love she deserved.
“It quickly became apparent that she was a friendly, affectionate girl who thrived off meeting new people.
“Now, after many months, it’s been confirmed that Camila can go home with one of our animal welfare officers, who she adores. We will miss her dearly – not least because her office antics kept us in hysterics – but we are so glad she will be looked after by someone who has been there with her since she first arrived.”