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Misplaced Whisky Receipt Helps Convict Drug Smuggler Hauling $3.5 Million of Heroin

Food & Wine logo Food & Wine 8/17/2022 Mike Pomranz

Recep Buyukguzel / Getty Images © Provided by Food & Wine Recep Buyukguzel / Getty Images

Always get a receipt. It's something your accountant might tell you if you're planning to claim work expenses back on your taxes. But if your line of work is smuggling heroin, then, yeah, receipts probably aren't the kind of evidence you want laying around. A truck driver learned that lesson the hard way after a receipt for a bottle of Scotch played a key role in his drug conviction.

Edmundas Bruzas, a 56-year-old Lithuanian living in Ireland, was recently handed a sentence of 12.5 years in the United Kingdom after being convicted of smuggling about $3.5 million worth of heroin in the cab of his truck back in March. He originally told officers at the English Port of Immingham that he didn't know how the 60 tape-wrapped blocks of drugs got into his vehicle, which was intended to deliver strawberries to Ireland, claiming he wasn't present when the cargo was loaded.

But investigators found something besides 30 kilos of heroin hidden in a concealed part of the truck: They also found seven shopping bags — one of which contained a receipt for a bottle of Grant's Triple Wood Whisky, which retails for about $18, that he bought on an outbound ferry from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Bruzas had declared the whisky at customs and admitted to buying it when interviewed by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) — but when officers told him where the receipt had been found, he apparently decided to stop answering any more questions. In the wake of this and other evidence, on Monday, Bruzas pled guilty in a nearby court.

"It was impossible for Bruzas not to know his cab had heroin in it. And when he realized we'd found his credit card receipt next to the drugs, he had no option but to admit his guilt," NCA operations manager Carl Barrass stated. "Bruzas's conviction removes a drugs smuggler from an organized crime group which has also lost a significant amount of money that would have been ploughed back into further offending."

Murdo Macmillan — director of the UK's Border Force North, which initially flagged the truck — added: "This seizure and others like it send a clear message to anyone who is considering smuggling illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and prepared to tackle drug supply chains."

At the very least, it sends a clear reminder to drug smugglers not to save their proof of purchase.

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