Cocaine-stuff duck statue used to smuggle drugs through Stansted Airport in Essex

Gold-coloured duck statue
The statue arrived at Stansted Airport from Colombia laced with cocaine Credit: National Crime Agency

A drug smuggler stuffed a gold-coloured duck statue with cocaine as he tried to illegally import drugs. 

Albanian national Aldo Alushi, 29, pleaded guilty to importing drugs into the UK at Chelmsford Crown Court on 18 February. 

The cocaine was discovered in the duck statue after Border Force officers at Stansted Airport scanned a wooden box which arrived on a flight from Cali, Colombia.

When an x-ray showed irregularities, officers decided to drill holes into it and discovered a pink sticky substance. A drug test returned a positive result for cocaine.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) traced the package back to an address in Milwards, Harlow, where Alushi was arrested. 

Alushi, who had been living in the UK illegally, initially said the statue did not belong to him, and that instead he was receiving the parcel on behalf of another Albanian man, who had helped him to get into the UK, before making his guilty plea at court.

Lydia Bloomfield of the NCA said: “This is certainly one of the most unusual attempts to smuggle drugs we’ve seen, and it shows the lengths that organised crime groups are willing to go in an attempt to avoid detection.

“The cocaine trade fuels significant further criminality, most notably serious violence, both upstream where the drug is sourced and here on the streets of the UK.

"Our work with partners like Border Force is key to disrupting class A supply chains and dismantling those groups behind the trade.”

Alushi will be sentenced next month.