Heathrow security told to ignore flying 'mules'

Just prior to Christmas, British customs officers were instructed to pay no attention to flying ‘mules’ passing through Heathrow airport in London. Due to reduced holiday staffing, Britain’s busiest airport was wide open to drug smugglers for a three day period. The UK Daily Mail learned that a UK Border Agency official sent a highly controversial email to the staff at Heathrow.
 
It read: ‘We would seek your co-operation in managing this situation by asking that you do not actively seek to identify any passenger with internal concealments for three days up to and including Christmas Day.’
 
The email which was leaked by a whistleblower within the agency was also said to have warned customs officers that if smugglers were detained, the arresting officer would be required to guard the prisoners for a 24-hour shift. The UK Border Agency’s senior detection manager, Mark Kennedy blamed staffing shortages for the controversial order saying that it was not possible to transport the smugglers to the hospital and guard them until the drugs had left their system.
 
At any one time, four or five ‘swallowers’ are in custody at the airport. Gangs already try to smuggle drugs through UK airports at Christmas because they know Customs are short staffed.
 
Lin Homer, the head of the UK Border Agency, was said to be ‘incandescent with rage.’ An officer added: ‘We’re waiving the white flag because we haven’t got enough staff to cope. Officers are angry.’
 
Airport security and customs have been under close scrutiny due to the recent increase in incidents of all stripe. There is no off day for those officers entrusted with public safety, it is a 24/7/365 responsibility (24/7/364 in the U.S.). David Raynes who served as a senior Customs investigator at Heathrow before joining the National Drug Prevention Alliance said ‘It is a very crass instruction. I’m astonished that anybody issued it.’ Mr. Raynes was amazed that there would be a staff shortage during the Christmas holiday adding that ‘officers all know that they have to work shifts, even at Christmas.’
 
There is no telling the volume of illegal drugs that were successfully trafficked through Heathrow during the three days security breach. There is no telling whether something more lethal than cocaine or heroine was waved through security.
 
December 31, 2010
 
pboehmke@yahoo.com
 
 
 
 

Just prior to Christmas, British customs officers were instructed to pay no attention to flying ‘mules’ passing through Heathrow airport in London. Due to reduced holiday staffing, Britain’s busiest airport was wide open to drug smugglers for a three day period. The UK Daily Mail learned that a UK Border Agency official sent a highly controversial email to the staff at Heathrow.
 
It read: ‘We would seek your co-operation in managing this situation by asking that you do not actively seek to identify any passenger with internal concealments for three days up to and including Christmas Day.’
 
The email which was leaked by a whistleblower within the agency was also said to have warned customs officers that if smugglers were detained, the arresting officer would be required to guard the prisoners for a 24-hour shift. The UK Border Agency’s senior detection manager, Mark Kennedy blamed staffing shortages for the controversial order saying that it was not possible to transport the smugglers to the hospital and guard them until the drugs had left their system.
 
At any one time, four or five ‘swallowers’ are in custody at the airport. Gangs already try to smuggle drugs through UK airports at Christmas because they know Customs are short staffed.
 
Lin Homer, the head of the UK Border Agency, was said to be ‘incandescent with rage.’ An officer added: ‘We’re waiving the white flag because we haven’t got enough staff to cope. Officers are angry.’
 
Airport security and customs have been under close scrutiny due to the recent increase in incidents of all stripe. There is no off day for those officers entrusted with public safety, it is a 24/7/365 responsibility (24/7/364 in the U.S.). David Raynes who served as a senior Customs investigator at Heathrow before joining the National Drug Prevention Alliance said ‘It is a very crass instruction. I’m astonished that anybody issued it.’ Mr. Raynes was amazed that there would be a staff shortage during the Christmas holiday adding that ‘officers all know that they have to work shifts, even at Christmas.’
 
There is no telling the volume of illegal drugs that were successfully trafficked through Heathrow during the three days security breach. There is no telling whether something more lethal than cocaine or heroine was waved through security.
 
December 31, 2010
 
pboehmke@yahoo.com