Truck driver attempted to smuggle cocaine through Harwich International Port

A LORRY driver who racked up gambling debts and “decided to take another bet” while trying to smuggle cocaine into the UK has been locked up.

Lukasz Kowalczykl, 29, was captured at Harwich International Port in February with 7 kg of cocaine.

Chelmsford Crown Court has learned that he has accepted a payment of £ 4,000 in exchange for work smuggling Class A drugs into the UK from the Hook of Holland.

Graham Hughes, mitigating, said Polish national Kowalczykl said his time in detention pending conviction had turned out to be an “isolating” experience.

He questioned his level of involvement in the smuggling operation.

Mr Hughes said: “There is a certain degree of confidence, but there are also those on both sides of the Channel who ensure that these drugs are, once passed through customs, promptly removed from the driver.

“He has no idea how big this operation was, he was going to be paid which, in the context of the drug’s value, was a relatively small amount – around £ 4,000.”

Mr. Hughes also pointed out the absence of previous convictions of his client and his complete lack of prior involvement in illegal drug importation operations.

The court heard that Kowalczykl, with no fixed address, had accepted the post due to gambling debts he was facing.

Recorder John Caudle said: “You racked up your gambling debts because I suspect you weren’t a very good gamer.

Most people are not very good players.

“Then unfortunately you, while talking to this person in a bar, decided to make another bet.

“As you said in the PSR, you were prepared to take the risk of bringing the cocaine.

“Because you are sitting where you are, this bet has not paid off. ”

Having imprisoned him for six years, Mr Caudle said Kowalczykl was arrested during his first border check, which was perhaps “the best thing that has ever happened to him”.

He said, “I suspect if you hadn’t been caught you might have done it again.

“You would have ended up getting caught and you would have been punished for having made several trips which would have considerably increased the sentence. ”

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