Local Man Caught Smuggling 91,000 Cigarettes Through Heathrow

Lucky Ubiribo had previous convictions along with two wives in W6 and W12

Margaret House, Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith

Margaret House in Queen Caroline Street. Pic: Google Streetview

Lucky Ubiribo, 62, was not so lucky when stopped by Border Force officers on 2 May last year after arriving on a flight from Nigeria.

Officers searched the bags he was carrying and found 31,100 mixed brand cigarettes packed in cardboard boxes in two of the four bags.

When questioned if he had any more baggage, Ubiribo said his aunt Beatrice had asked him to check in luggage on her behalf. He claimed that, for some reason, she did not board the flight.

Four more of his bags were then identified still in the baggage hall and a further 60,000 cigarettes found. Airline enquiries discovered that no passenger named Beatrice had booked on to the flight from Lagos.

The matter was referred to HM Revenue and Customs for investigation and on 18 April, Ubiribo admitted fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Uxbridge Magistrates Court.

In all, he had been trying to smuggle 91,100 cigarettes through Heathrow Airport, evading £30,962 in excise duty

Ubiribo was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for a year, at Isleworth Crown Court on Thursday 16 May.

Further Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online or on 0800 788 887.

This was not Ubiribo's first brush with the law. In 2011, he was jailed along with his son, convicted drug dealer Demis, then 33, for money laundering and possession of criminal property.

Lucky, then 54, was arrested by police after a raid at Margaret House, Queen Caroline Street found £7,000 in cash. The cash was later found to be contaminated with high levels of heroin and cannabis.

A simultaneous raid by Hammersmith & Fulham Drugs Squad in Norbroke Street, W12, led to Demis' arrest after the discovery of false documents in Lucky's name along with several thousand pounds in cash.

A combined investigation involving the Drugs Squad, Police Payback Unit and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Corporate Anti-Fraud Service, established that Lucky Urbiribo had two wives and two families - one living in Margaret House,W6 and the other in Norbroke Street,W12. He had married both women in Nigeria and had children by them both.

Norbroke Street in White City, W12

 Norbroke Street in White City. Pic: Google Streetview

After the investigation on the families, Lucky, Demis, Gladys and Joys Ubiribo were all charged with conspiracy to launder money. Lucky and Demis were also charged with possession of criminal property.

Lucky's two wives, Joys, 51 and Gladys, 50 were also charged and convicted of benefit fraud.

At the time, Detective Sergeant Simon Rogers from Hammersmith & Fulham's Drugs Squad said:
"This was a very complex and protracted investigation which took place over a 12 month period. For years the family instilled fear amongst the community and rival criminals portraying themselves as untouchable. In these fiscal times they bled the benefits system while leading a lavish lifestyle dealing drugs and laundering the profits."