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Vlcek: I had no idea drugs were in my suitcase

A man accused of trying to smuggle $9.5 million of heroin into Bermuda said he had no idea packages of the drug were hidden in his suitcase.

Josef Vlcek, 49, told police in a recorded interview he had bought the bags in an East London market and had seen nothing unusual about them at the time.

Mr Vlcek, from the Czech Republic, told police he flew to Bermuda for a holiday, but he had also wanted to find work on the island.

He said he did not know how much his flight cost because another man had helped him pay for it, but he refused to identify him.

A translator told officers: “He says he doesn't want to get anybody else involved.

“He also said he didn't put the drugs in the case and he hates drugs.”

Mr Vlcek was arrested at LF Wade International Airport on September 23, 2017, after he arrived on a flight from London.

The court previously heard that a customs officer noticed a bulge in the lining of one of his suitcases and an X-ray revealed packages hidden inside the bag's lining.

Three packages were found in his two suitcases containing a total of about 2.9 kilograms of heroin.

As the trial continued, the jury were shown footage of a police interview of Mr Vlcek recorded after his arrest.

During the interview, Mr Vlcek alternated between speaking to officers in English and talking through a local translator.

Mr Vlcek said he was in London for several days before coming to Bermuda, and had recently spent time in South Africa, Tanzania and Germany. He said most of the trips were holidays, and that he usually tried to find work in the countries he visits.

The translator said: “He says he always finds a little job that pays for his travels.”

Mr Vlcek said he had intended to stay at a hotel in Bermuda and pay cash, but police said he only had $600 in cash.

He told officers himself: “I always find some job. If yes, then I will stay here. If not, go back.”

Asked about what kind of work he did, Mr Vlcek said: “I can do anything. I can do gardening, I can do driving. I do whatever I find.”

He added that he had done some gardening work in London, but could not say who hired him and that he had thrown away his gardening clothes before flying to Bermuda.

Mr Vlcek said he did not know anyone in Bermuda and did not realise he would need a work permit to be employed in Bermuda.

He said he had no idea what the packages found in his suitcase contained, and that when he was shown the X-ray he initially believed the package contained “gold or diamonds”.

One of the officers responded that he did not believe Mr Vlcek's story.

The officer said: “You are saying that you want us to believe that you went to a gypsy vendor or a street vendor and you bought two suitcases with three kilograms of heroin and flew to Bermuda with no idea how much you had paid for your flight, no idea of how much you were going to spend in Bermuda and didn't research the fact that you couldn't work without a permit in Bermuda?”

The translator said: “He said he doesn't know who put the drugs in the suitcase.”

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

LF Wade International Airport

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Published March 07, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated March 07, 2019 at 1:40 pm)

Vlcek: I had no idea drugs were in my suitcase

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