Prohibition on the importation and exportation of controlled drugs
Produced in partnership with 18 Red Lion Court
Prohibition on the importation and exportation of controlled drugs

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with 18 Red Lion Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Prohibition on the importation and exportation of controlled drugs
  • Overview of the offences of importing and exporting
  • Improper importation: Section 50 CEMA
  • Unlawful exportation—CEMA 1979, s 68
  • Fraudulent evasion—CEMA 1979, s 170
  • Defences
  • Sentencing

Overview of the offences of importing and exporting

Whilst the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, s 3 (MDA 1971) provides for the prohibition on importing and exporting controlled drugs, the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA 1979) creates the offences.

See Possession of controlled drugs.

There are 3 main offences under CEMA 1979:

  1. improper importation (s 50)

  2. unlawful exportation (s 68), and

  3. fraudulent evasion (s 170)

CEMA 1979, s 170 serves as a ‘mopping up’ offence and in practice is far more widely used than the other two.

Almost all of the offences created by these provisions are triable either way with the exception of CEMA 1979, s 50(6) and s 68(1) which are summary only.

Improper importation: Section 50 CEMA

An offence is committed by any person who, with intent to defraud Her Majesty of any duty on or to evade any prohibition or restriction on the importation, landing or unloading of the goods in question:

  1. unships or lands in any port or unloads from any aircraft in the United Kingdom or from any vehicle in Northern Ireland any prohibited or restricted goods, or dutiable goods on which the duty has not been paid, or

  2. removes, assists or is otherwise concerned in the removal from their place of importation or from any approved wharf, examination

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