A Thornton Heath man has been found guilty of conspiring to import £9 million worth of cocaine through Heathrow Airport.

Preetam Mungrah, 43, of Thornton Heath and Wilfred Owusu, 30, of Stoke Newington, were found guilty on Thursday October 5 at Kingston Crown Court of conspiring with baggage handler Joysen Jhurry, 40 from Banstead, to import the cocaine into the UK.

This followed an 18 month National Crime Agency Investigation, which saw Mungrah arrested in December 2016.

NCA surveillance officers would watch as Jhurry arranged to move suitcases containing the drugs off a flight from Brazil and have them placed on baggage carousels for domestic flights.

Around the time of each flight Jhurry was in phone contact with right-hand man Mungrah.

The bags would be then collected by couriers, organised by Owusu, arriving on internal flights from other airports in the UK, who could exit Heathrow without going through customs controls.

Two such couriers, Danovan Bull, 45, and Moses Awopetu, 38, were arrested on arrival and would later plead guilty to importing class A drugs.

On other occasions, seizures were made by Border Force officers.

In total, cocaine weighing more than 100 kilos and cannabis weighing around 50 kilos was seized from the gang.

NCA regional head of investigations Brendan Foreman said: “This was a sophisticated plot and at the centre of it was a man who used his privileged access to Heathrow and insider knowledge of the airport’s systems for criminal purposes.

“This kind of corruption threatens the security of the UK border and the public at large which is why the NCA and its partners are tackling it as a priority.

“Working with Border Force, Airport authorities and the airline community we were able to stop this organised crime group in its tracks and pull together evidence which demonstrated their guilt to the jury.”

Three other men, Damion Goodhall, 30, of Tooting, London, Mark Agoro, 51, of Thurrock, Essex, and Aziz Abdul, 37, of no fixed abode, also pleaded guilty to being part of the conspiracy.

All will be sentenced later in the year.