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German man convicted of smuggling six kilos of opium into Canada

Keith Fraser, Postmedia Network

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

A jury has found a German man guilty of smuggling six kilograms of opium inside two suitcases at Vancouver International Airport.

The B.C. Supreme Court jury convicted Erol Ureten, 49, of one count of importing a controlled substance and one count of possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

The court was told that the accused was arrested after he flew from Hamburg, Germany to Vancouver on Jan. 11, 2016.

When customs officials searched Ureten’s suitcase and the suitcase of his co-accused, Jan Boie, they found six kilograms of opium hidden in secret compartments.

The main issue at trial was whether Ureten, who testified that he thought he was bringing designer clothing into the country for a man he only identified by the name Olaf, was aware that the drugs were in the suitcases.

His lawyer claimed that Ureten, who was employed as a trucker in Germany, was an “unsophisticated blind courier, an unknowing dupe” of the drug organization.

The Crown however argued that his story wasn’t plausible, and that he knew there were drugs valued at $300,000 in the suitcases, or suspected there were drugs and didn’t want to know about it.

The jury verdict in a Vancouver courtroom came Friday afternoon following a day of deliberations. Ureten is to make his next appearance in court Wednesday to fix a date for sentencing.

Boie, who was identified as Ureten’s stepdaughter’s boyfriend, was earlier acquitted.

kfraser@postmedia.com

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