Zixian Long was an arts student at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. As the fall semester came to a close last December, Long’s final term, she remembers finishing up her final projects when her mother approached her about a free travel opportunity. Long’s mother had been contacted by a person she met on the internet, who offered to pay her and her daughter’s round trip travel costs to Barcelona, if only they would bring a suitcase back with them.
Ignoring the warning signs, they accepted. And on their way back into Scotland, unaware that the shrink-wrapped suitcase they were carrying had more than $125,000 worth of weed in it, Border Force agents arrested them. Despite denying any knowledge of the contents of the suitcase, a jury convicted Zixian Long today on drug trafficking and drug dealing charges.
International Student Unwittingly Traffics 10 Kilos of Cannabis into Scotland
21-year-old Zixian Long landed at the Glasgow Airport on New Year’s Eve, 2017. It’s a day the Scots call Hogmanay, a nationwide celebration of the New Year. She and her mother had just flown in from Barcelona, Spain, where they spent the week sightseeing and checking out the art museums. At the end of their trip, they met up with a man who dropped off the suitcase she and her mother would take back to Scotland. “My mum said if I could bring this luggage back for them this time they would pay my trip,” Long explained in court. “I wanted to do my mum a favor — I wasn’t thinking too much.”
Long had moved to the UK about ten years ago with her mom to go to school. Struggling to make ends meet, an opportunity to travel to Spain for free seemed too good to be true. Of course, it was. “There was an opportunity to go to Barcelona for free and my mum asked me if I wanted to go with her,” Long said. “My mum barely travels.”
But the shrink-wrapped suitcase Long and her mother received probably should have raised a few red flags. The weight might have also—10 kilos of weed plus the packaging and suitcase would have made it at least 3o pounds. Indeed, when Long and her mother landed in Glasgow, the suitcase looked immediately suspicious to Border Force officers. When they searched the suitcase, they discovered 10 purple and green vacuum packed bags wrapped in towels. Each package held one kilogram of weed, or 2.2 pounds. Calculating each gram could sell for about £10, prosecutors accused Long of trafficking £100,000 of cannabis into Scotland for distribution.
Scotland Jury Convicts Student on Drug Trafficking and Drug Dealing Charges
During her trial, Long plead not guilty to all charges. She said she had no idea that the bag she had agreed to carry contained any illegal substances. In court, her defense attorney demonstrated that Long didn’t even know the combination to the suitcase’s lock. But a jury convicted her on two counts. First, for being “knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of controlled drugs.” And second, for being “concerned in the supplying of a controlled drug.”
Long will remain in custody in Glasgow until her January sentencing. Sheriff Tom McCartney will determine the 21-year-old Arts student’s sentence.
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