LONDON: The UK authorities say they have seized a large amount of heroin from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-785.
“National Crime Agency officers are investigating following the seizure of a large quantity of heroin found by Border Force officers onboard a flight from Pakistan at Heathrow on Monday, May 15. No arrests have been made, enquiries are ongoing,” an NCA spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
Earlier, 13 crew members of PIA PK-785 who had arrived from Islamabad were detained at the Heathrow Airport. The crew members were kept in detention for five hours, and according to UK Border Agency (UKBA) sources, information had been received from Pakistan that there were narcotics onboard the flight.
The crew was released at 2 AM (GMT) after being questioned but their passports are still held by the UKBA which states that further questioning might take place.
There were a total of 16 crew members on the plane.
PIA crew alleges false information being given to defame the airline.
In a statement, the Metropolitan police said action against PIA crew members was taken by the UKBA which is directly dealt by the Home Office.
The UKBA added that the PIA has been notified in both Pakistan and in the UK.
Both PIA and the NCA confirmed that 30 UKBA agents participated in the operation last night. The agents were equipped with cameras, and conducted live filming to secure evidence, assisted by sniffing dogs who were also brought on the plane.
The operation on the plane continued for three hours, after which the plane was declared clean following the complete removal of heroin.
Earlier a spokesperson for the PIA said the crew members were not detained. According to the spokesperson the 13 crew members, including the pilot, had finished their duties after flying from Islamabad to London. “They were never scheduled to fly on PK-785 from London to Lahore in the first place,” the spokesperson added.
According to the spokesperson, PK-758 landed in Lahore earlier on Tuesday accompanied with a new crew. The original crew stayed back in London after its duty had ended, as per schedule, the spokesperson claimed.
The spokesperson further added that passports of the crew members had been returned.
According to PIA sources, a protest will be lodged over the heavy handedness of the police.
On February 8, a PIA plane flying to Heathrow Airport was forced to land at London’s Stansted Airport evening over security threats.
According to British Police, the aircraft was diverted due to reports of a disruptive passenger.