Drug smugglers caught trying to bring £150,000 of cannabis through Newcastle Airport in suitcases

Carlos Gonzalez-Cortes, top, and Leon Espada were arrested as they flew into Newcastle Airport from Spain with suitcases full of drugs, left.
Carlos Gonzalez-Cortes, top, and Leon Espada were arrested as they flew into Newcastle Airport from Spain with suitcases full of drugs, left.

Two Spaniards who tried to smuggle £150,000 of cannabis into the UK in their suitcases have been jailed.

Leon Espada and Carlos Gonzalez-Cortes were arrested by the Border Force officials when they landed on the tarmac at Newcastle Airport on January 23.

The two suitcases contained 30kg of cannabis, with a street value of 150,000.

The two suitcases contained 30kg of cannabis, with a street value of 150,000.

Security guards had spotted something unusual when doing luggage security checks and decided to inspect further.

They uncovered a huge haul of cannabis which weighed 30kg, with a street value of more than £150,000.

The drug smugglers were taken to Forth Banks police station in Newcastle, where they were interviewed.

They admitted bringing the drugs into the country to sell on the streets of the North East.

The cannabis was destined to be sold on the streets of the North East.

The cannabis was destined to be sold on the streets of the North East.

Both pleaded guilty to a charge of importation of a Class B drug into the UK when they appeared before magistrates last month.

Yesterday, at Newcastle Crown Court, Espada, 63, of Marbella, and Gonzalez-Cortes, 46, of Malaga, were both jailed for 16 months.

Detective Constable Frank Cox, of Northumbria Police's Central CID, said: "This was a really huge seizure, and it is amazing that these offenders thought they would get away with it.

"They were bringing cannabis into this country with the intention of selling it to street dealers who would spread it across the streets of the North East.

"Not only is cannabis an illegal drug, but it brings with it a lot of associated crime which can have a devastating impact on many of our local communities.

"With dealing of this scale we almost always find associated violence and disorder, so it is important that we take illegal drugs off the street at the source of the problem.

"I want to thank our colleagues at Newcastle International Airport and the UK Border Force, who ultimately stopped this huge haul of drugs hitting our region."