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Czech man denies importing $9.5m of heroin

The alleged importer of $9.5 million of heroin was caught after customs officials spotted a bulge and traces of glue in the lining of one of his suitcases, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Takiyah Simpson, for the Crown, told the court that Josef Vlcek, then 47, was detained by customs officers after he arrived at the airport on a flight from Britain with two suitcases.

Ms Simpson said: “He cleared immigration and proceeded to the customs baggage hall. where he made his way to the Green Channel.”

She added Mr Vleck was selected for a secondary inspection.

She said: “During the search of the first suitcase belonging to the defendant, the customs officer noticed a slight bulge and glue residue in the lining of his suitcase.”

Ms Simpson told jurors that the defendant's two suitcases were scanned by an X-ray machine and “anomalies were found”.

She said a customs officer pulled out some of the lining in one of the suitcases and removed a package wrapped in carbon paper. Ms Simpson added that the officer pulled back the paper and found “a beige powder substance in a vacuum-sealed bag”.

She said that a scan done on the outside of the package showed traces of heroin.

Ms Simpson added: “The Bermuda Police Service were called and the defendant was arrested and he was later charged.”

Mr Vleck, of the Czech Republic, has pleaded not guilty to the importation of about 2.9 kilograms of heroin on September 23, 2017 and possession of the drug with intent to supply

Daniel Cardoso, a customs officer, told the court that he was working at the secondary desk at the airport when Mr Vleck arrived. He said that Mr Vleck had been flagged for a second inspection by another officer at about 7pm.

Mr Cardoso said that Mr Vleck told him that he had travelled to Bermuda for a ten-day holiday.

He said that the defendant told him that he was an artist and had flown to the island alone.

Mr Cardoso asked if the two bags he was carrying belonged to him. Mr Vleck replied: “Yes, they are mine.”

Mr Cardoso said that Mr Vleck told him that he had booked his flight and accommodation the day before.

He added that he noticed a “bulge” on the outside of one of Mr Vleck's suitcases.

He said: “At this point I suspected that there was something in the bag.”

Mr Cardoso said that he called over another customs officer who pulled back lining inside the bag and exposed carbon paper.

He said that he cautioned Mr Vleck, packed up his bag, and escorted him to an interview room.

Mr Cardoso said Mr Vleck asked: “What's wrong with my bag? When we were outside, I think there's some problem.”

He added that he told Mr Vleck: “There's definitely a problem.”

The trial continues.

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Published March 05, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated March 07, 2019 at 1:38 pm)

Czech man denies importing $9.5m of heroin

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