Dutch national John Buwalda, 49, was held by officers in a Holiday Inn near Rochester Airport after arriving from the Netherlands in a light aircraft. A pilot is facing jail after being caught with his trousers down as he smuggled cocaine worth more than £2.4 million into Kent. Dutch national John Buwalda, 49, was held by National Crime Agency officers in a Holiday Inn near Rochester Airport shortly after flying in from the Netherlands in a light aircraft.
Minutes earlier, his accomplice, Jan Polak, had been arrested outside the hotel carrying 48lb (22kg) of cocaine with a high purity level.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, the pair were both found guilty of plotting to smuggle in the Class A drugs in June. NCA officer Jim McMorrow had told the trial how he arrested Buwalda while he was sitting on the toilet. He said that after Polak was detained, officers went to the hotel room he had been in and discovered Buwalda in the bathroom.
He told the jury: “Mr Buwalda was sitting on the toilet. He had a white top on and his trousers were by his legs. I informed him we had arrested a man...and he had given us the room as the one he had been in. I asked him what he was doing here and he said ‘I flew in from Hilversum today’. I informed him I was arresting him.”
The Old Bailey was told that the drugs, which were found to have an 80 per cent purity level, were worth £2,408,040 on the street. Prosecutor Ailsa Williamson said that Buwalda, from Hilversum, told officers he worked for the Chinese Europe Medical Post Grad Academy, which provided European-standard training to Chinese-taught dentists.
He is said to have told them he had flown to the UK on June 30 using the academy’s Piper Alpha to network at the University of Greenwich. But he admitted he had spoken to no-one at the university or set up any meetings before leaving the Netherlands.
Prosecutors alleged he brought the drugs across in red metal boxes, which he claimed were wing weights used to prevent gusts of wind from lifting the wings while the aircraft is on the ground.
Buwalda told the NCA agents he took the weights boxes into the Holiday Inn because he wanted to “show off and look the part of a pilot." But Ms Williamson said: “They were not wing weights and if they were, we would expect them to be attached to the wing and not taken into the hotel.” Polak, of Borehamwood, Herts, told officers he worked for a cosmetics company and was paid £300 to collect a package for a business contact called Timmy. He denied ever looking into the bag or knowing what was inside when questioned.
Neither defendant reacted when they were found guilty. Sentencing was adjourned to February 3rd.
By Emily Pennick - Kent News Today/Dec. 22, 2016
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