- Arti Dhir, a 59-year-old woman originally from Kenya but residing in the United Kingdom, has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for her involvement in smuggling cocaine between the UK and Australia.
The Australian Southwark Crown Court delivered the verdict on January 31, implicating Dhir’s husband in the case as well. The UK’s National Crime Agency, in collaboration with Australia’s Border Force, intercepted a significant drug shipment in May 2021. A total of 512 kilograms of cocaine, valued at approximately 57 million pounds, were seized upon its arrival in Sydney via a commercial flight. The investigation led authorities to a private freight services company in the UK, registered under the names of the suspects since 2015.
Dhir’s husband Kavaljitsinh Raijada,35, was linked to the crime through fingerprints on plastic wrappings of metal toolboxes, along with receipts for their purchase found at their UK residence. The National Crime Agency has revealed that, since June 2019, 37 shipments have been sent to Australia, with 22 being decoys and 15 containing cocaine. In Hanwell, London, another significant find unfolded as authorities discovered nearly £3 million in cash concealed inside boxes and suitcases at a West London storage facility.
Despite vehement denials from the couple regarding allegations of international drug trafficking and money laundering, the Southwark Crown Court found them guilty of 12 counts of exporting illegal substances and 18 counts of money laundering. Also, the duo also faces charges in their homeland of India for the murder of their adopted son. The 11-year-old boy was tragically found stabbed and abandoned by the roadside in Gopal, Gujarat province on February 8, 2017. Consequently, the Indian judicial system initiated extradition inquiries. Meanwhile, the jury at Southwark Crown Court has reached a verdict, compounding the couple’s legal troubles with the convictions for drug offences and money laundering.