A drug smuggler who drove more than 7,000 miles before being caught with six kilos of opium stashed in his fuel tank has been jailed.
Bahram Badiani, 47, from Earls Court Road, was stopped by Border Force officers when attempting to board a Channel Tunnel service from France to England on November 25, 2015.
A search of his BMW revealed that 17 bottles containing around six kilos of opium, with an estimated street value of more than £90,000, were stashed in his fuel tank.
Officers also found more than £9,000 cash in hidden in the boot and an Iranian passport, which had stamps showing he recently travelled through Turkey.
Staff from the National Crime Agency (NCA) investigated and, in interviews with officers, Badiani claimed the trip was to visit family in Iran and he had no knowledge of the drugs.
Investigators found evidence that he had driven for five days from London through France and Italy, got the ferry across to Greece and then drove through Greece and Turkey to Iran.
When asked why he had attempted the gruelling 7,000-mile journey by car, spending more than £1,000 on petrol instead of flying, the smuggler said he loved driving the NCA said.
Further checks revealed Badiani had made a similar journey earlier in the year, on that occasion writing off a BMW in a crash in Greece.
Officers found he had paid £2,000 to have it transported back to the UK, despite the wrecked car only being worth a few hundred pounds in scrap.
NCA staff also found £18,000 had been deposited into his account in the months before his arrest.
Badiani continued to deny attempting to import class A drugs, but following a six-day trial, he was found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday 11 September.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison the same day.
Ian Truby, from the NCA’s border investigation team, spoke after the trial.
“We see a lot of creative smuggling attempts, but this was the first 7,000 mile round road trip,” he said.
He added: “It was a costly one for Mr Badiani – at the time he wouldn’t have known that every half mile he drove would equate to a day in prison when he got back to Britain.
“He changed his story consistently but the jury saw through his lies. This was no holiday, he was a professional drug smuggler and knew exactly what he was doing."
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