Fulham Woman Convicted of Carrying Drug Cash to Dubai

Beatrice Auty helped international criminal gangs launder proceeds

Beatrice Auty
Beatrice Auty. Picture: NCA

July 13, 2023

A woman from Fulham has been jailed for 42 months after being one of six people convicted of helping international criminal gangs launder their proceeds.

27-year-old Beatrice Auty of Stephendale Road brought suitcases full of cash to Dubai and helped organise 16 other trips under taken by other couriers.

On her two trips in July and August 2020 she carried seven suitcases containing a total of £3.4million most of which is believed to have been money generated by drug dealing. Czech national Zdenek Kamaryt, who was convicted of money laundering in March 2021, joined her on the second trip.

Having made these trips, she became involved in the logistical side of the operation helping pack the suitcases and accompanying the cash mules to Heathrow and collecting empty suitcases when they returned for reuse.

She was part of a network that collected cash from criminal groups around the UK, which was mainly the profits of drug dealing, and took it to counting houses that were rented apartments in Central London. It is believed that this method resulted in over £100 million being smuggled out of the country.

The money was then vacuum packed and separated into suitcases, which would typically each contain around £500,000. They were sprayed with coffee or air fresheners in an attempt to prevent them being found by sniffer dogs.

The network transported the cash to Dubai during 83 separate trips between November 2019 and October 2020, overseen by ringleader Abdullah Alfalasi, 48, who was jailed for more than nine years in July last year.

The couriers, who were paid around £3,000 for each trip and would be booked on business class flights due to the extra luggage allowance, communicated on WhatsApp groups, including one titled ’Sunshine and lollipops’.

Muhammad Ilyas, 30, from Slough, was arrested by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers at Heathrow Airport after in February 2020 after arriving on a flight from Dubai. He had checked in four suitcases at the airport ten days earlier, one of which had gone missing, and declared almost £1.5 million in cash to Dubai Customs. The missing suitcase was subsequently found by Border Force officers and contained £431,360 in cash. He had made one previous trip in January 2021, declaring £1 million on that occasion.

Auty was arrested in May 2021 and was convicted alongside other members of the network including Jonathan Johnson, 55, and Jo Emma Larvin, 44, both from Ripon in North Yorkshire, and Amy Harrison, 28, from Worcester Park in Surrey, following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 26 April this year.

Two other couriers from the same network were convicted at earlier hearings and were sentenced alongside them at the same court on Wednesday 12 July. Johnson was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years, Larvin to 24 months suspended for two years, Harrison to 24 months suspended for two years, Esson to 22 months suspended for two years and Ilyas to 15 months suspended for two years.

Adrian Searle, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre in the NCA, said, “The laundering of such vast quantities of cash around the globe enables organised criminals and corrupt elites to clean or hide their ill-gotten gains.

“Cash smugglers work on behalf of international controller networks, who move the finances of the international drug trade, people traffickers, fraudsters and other criminal groups.

“This case demonstrates the continued commitment to crackdown on money laundering and target organised crime groups who cause misery and ruin lives.”

NCA senior investigating officer Ian Truby said, “These couriers smuggled cash out of the UK on an industrial scale, at the behest of organised crime groups.

“They were prepared to travel out to the UAE for a holiday in the sun, in return for a cut of the profit.

“This case demonstrates the NCA’s commitment to targeting the criminal networks involved in money laundering.

“Profits are often re-invested into criminal activities such as drug trafficking. This fuels violence and insecurity in the UK and across the world, which is why our investigation continues.”

The NCA investigation has been supported by Border Force and the UAE authorities. A number of British couriers are under investigation in the UAE and cannot leave until inquiries have been completed.

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