Drug smuggler who swallowed 67 packages of cocaine caught because of his bulging belly

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:36 PM on 26th November 2009

Smuggler: Fidelis Ozouli was caught with £250,000 worth of cocaine

Smuggler: Fidelis Ozouli was caught with £250,000 worth of cocaine in his stomach

A drug smuggler swallowed 67 packages of cocaine in an attempt to get through British customs.

Student Fidelis Ozouli, 30, risked his life trying to hide the 1kg haul of the class A substance in his stomach.

He later claimed he did not know the packets contained drugs.

Officers at Manchester Airport became suspicious because Ozouli looked unnaturally bloated.

They carried out X-rays on his stomach and discovered a quantity of cocaine equivalent to two bags of sugar.

It is one of the largest amounts ever found internally by UK customs officers.

The drug, hidden inside scores of condoms, was 78 per cent pure and had a street value of £250,000.

Ozouli left officials and a court baffled by claiming: 'I didn't know they were drugs.'

He added: 'I just did not know what they were. I thought I was swallowing something else to take into Britain as a favour for a pal.'

At Manchester Crown Court, Ozouli, who is from Nigeria but lives and studies in London, pleaded guilty to importing class A drugs and was jailed for ten years - but continued to deny knowing what the haul was.

Judge Thomas Gilbart QC told him: 'I do not accept your evidence and do not believe it is credible.

'The story is fantastical and I don't believe a word of it.

'This was a calculated decision on your part to solve your money worries.'

Ozouli, of Kennington, South London, was stopped by UK Border Agency officers on his arrival at Manchester from Switzerland on September 5.

He claimed he was on a business trip from Zurich on behalf of a pharmaceuticals company but inquiries revealed he had taken a lengthy and unusual route back to the UK from countries in Africa.

He was arrested and the case was passed to customs officers who interviewed him. Later he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was X-rayed to ensure all the packages had been recovered.

X-ray: 67 packages of cocaines were found in Ozouli's stomach

X-ray: Ozouli had swallowed 67 packages of cocaine

Mike O'Grady, assistant director of criminal investigation for Revenue and Customs said yesterday: 'Forensic tests showed that the purity of this cocaine is significantly above what we would normally find.

'Swallowing any drugs puts the courier at risk, but with purity levels this high he was putting himself at considerable risk of death.

'Criminals dealing in drugs with high purity levels are thinking solely of increased profits, to further fund their illegal activity.


Ozouli claims he didn't know the £250,000 worth of cocaine capsules found in his stomach was drugs

Mr O'Grady added: 'They show utter disregard for the damage drugs do to individuals and communities.

'Customs is working closely with our partners in the UK Border Agency, police and other law enforcement agencies such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency to protect the public from the significant and damaging effect drugs have on our communities.'

The biggest ever recorded haul of cocaine found in a smuggler's stomach in Britain was 1.5kg found inside 39 packages in 2003.