Kent

Kent cocaine flight accused 'caught with trousers down'

A pilot accused of smuggling more than £2.4m of cocaine into the UK was arrested while sitting on a toilet with his trousers down, a jury heard.

Dutch pilot John Buwalda and another man are accused of bringing the drug into Kent by light aircraft.

Both have denied conspiracy to import Class A drugs.

Mr Buwalda, from Hilversum, was found in a bathroom, while his co-defendant was arrested outside a Holiday Inn, the Old Bailey was told.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officer Jim McMorrow told the court the co-defendant Jan Polak, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was found to be carrying 48lb (22kg) of cocaine when he was arrested outside the hotel near Rochester Airport.

He said NCA officers then found Mr Buwalda, adding: "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 the drugs had an 80% purity level and were worth £2,408,040 on the street.

'Drugs in metal boxes'

Prosecutor Ailsa Williamson said Mr Buwalda told officers he worked for the Chinese Europe Medical Post Grad Academy, which trained dentists.

He is said to have told officers he flew the academy's Piper Alpha aircraft into the UK on 30 June to network at the University of Greenwich, but admitted he spoke to no-one at the university beforehand.

It is claimed he brought the drugs over in metal boxes which he said were wing weights - used to prevent the wind lifting the wings while the aircraft is on the ground.

The court was told the boxes, which he took into the hotel, were not wing weights.

Ms Williamson said: "The prosecution say the reason he was dragging that trolley into the hotel was because he was bringing the drugs in to hand over to Polak."

Mr Polak told officers he worked for a cosmetics company and had been paid £300 to collect a package but he denied knowing what was inside, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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