Babar Shahabi, 53, of Hardwick Road, Hove, appeared before a jury at Brighton Crown Court on Thursday, January 12 –and was found guilty of possessing the heroin with the intent to supply it, and he was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the judge.
Mr Shahabi had appeared at Lewes Crown Court on September 3, 2020, where he pleaded not guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply.
He was arrested at Gatwick railway station in October 2019 by British Transport Police (BTP), after concerned members of rail staff spotted Mr Shahabi wandering across the tracks from platform to platform on October 2, 2019 and reported his actions to BTP.
BTP said as officers arrived he was engaging with rail staff, although his responses were incoherent.
Officers searched his bag only to find identification, however they instead discovered large individually wrapped bags of a beige powder in the bag’s side pocket. The BTP said he immediately stated that someone else had placed the powder in his bag.
Officers arrested Mr Shahabi on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and escorted him to police custody for questioning.
In interview, the BTP said Mr Shahabi denied ever being at the station, telling detectives he fell asleep on a friend’s sofa the night before and woke up at the police station.
Analysis of the powder found in Shahabi’s bag revealed it was 109 grams of unusually pure heroin, with jury hearing evidence at trial that he must have been close to the source of the drug coming into the UK.
Detective Inspector Graham Moss said: “Shahabi’s incredibly dangerous actions at Gatwick resulted in a large haul of dangerous drugs out of circulation, him severely out of pocket and facing a substantial prison sentence.
“The events of the day could easily have ended in tragedy however and I am thankful to the members of rail staff who intervened as he casually strolled across the tracks at a busy train station.
"As Mr Shahabi now realises using the railway network to move drugs is never a good idea, because you will get caught. We have specialist teams on trains and at stations across the whole network tackling drug supply seven days a week.”