A jobless Birmingham man, caught smuggling £80,000 worth of cocaine through Gatwick Airport in a bid to wipe out debts, was jailed for four years today.
Daron Omar Falconer, 31, of Abbotsford Avenue had just stepped off a flight from Jamaica when UK Border Agency staff found the cocaine paste hidden in the lining of a laptop bag.
He pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court (pictured) to importing 850 gms of the class A drug on March 19.
Falconer told officers he was acting “under duress” and was awaiting trial in custody when he decided to change his plea to guilty.
“He was a courier who was not going to share in the profits,” said Mr. Jeremy Lynn, defending.
“He was pressured into getting involved by a group of people in Birmingham who seemed to be friendly and helped him find accommodation and were relaxed as to when he paid the rent.
“He became indebted to them and was pressured into travelling to Jamaica, collecting a bag for them, and bringing it back into this country.”
The court heard Falconer has struggled with depression and has at times been “suicidal” and Judge Nicholas Ainley read a lengthy heartfelt letter from the defendant's wife.
“He is a total stranger to drug offending and this league of offending,” added Mr. Lynn.
“You know what you did and why you did it and you know the harm it has caused your family,” Judge Ainley told Falconer.
“I have to give you a sentence that will deter others.”
Falconer was given credit for the 225 days he has already spent on remand.