Canadian who smuggled £295,000 worth of cannabis to Scotland sentenced

A Canadian man who was caught flying in to Aberdeen airport with almost 33 kilos of cannabis has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Pawlo Albanskyj, 29, from Mississauga near Toronto, was stopped as he arrived on a flight from Toronto via Amsterdam. 

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership Scotland, made up of NCA and Police Scotland officers, started an investigation after Border Force Officers stopped Albanskyj at customs.

When asked what his suitcases contained, he said it was filled with clothes belonging to himself and his sister who he was planning to visit in Slough. He had been due to fly to Birmingham but had been re-routed to Aberdeen following flight delays.

The suitcases were forced open after Albanskyj claimed not to know the padlock codes. They contained just two t-shirts and 33 kilos of herbal cannabis which had been packed into individual bags.

OCP officers forensically examined the drugs, which were found to consist of ten individual plastic bags further sub-divided into smaller bags. The drugs would have been worth £295,000 at street level.

An examination of his phone showed that Albanskyj had been acting as a courier of the drugs in return for payment.

Albanskyj pleaded guilty to being involved in the supply of cannabis in a hearing at Edinburgh High Court on 8 March. He was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment at the same court today.

NCA senior officer Peter Taylor said: “Pawlo Albanskyj brazenly carried a significant amount of drugs in his bags with no attempts to conceal what was inside. The work of the OCP Scotland team meant that these clearly prepared drugs never ended up at their intended destination in England.

“We will continue our work in our partnership with Police Scotland, and working closely with Border Force, to target and disrupt drug couriers and the gangs behind them.”

Detective Sergeant Stuart Boyle said: “Albanskyj’s conviction and sentencing is another example of our ongoing commitment to target those who try to distribute large amounts of controlled drugs for financial gain. This remains an absolute priority for the Organised Crime Partnership and its partners.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that information from our local communities is an essential part of our investigation process, as we work to disrupt the drugs trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

David Green, Procurator Fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: “Justice does not stop at the border.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to protecting our society from harm and will continue to work with enforcing authorities using every avenue available to bring criminals to justice in Scotland.

“We will target all those who threaten communities across Scotland, not only drug couriers but also those who direct their movements. With each case of this kind, we can help reduce the harm these drugs do to those communities.”