herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Mum with €180k of cocaine-soaked shirts is jailed

Find was made at airport
Find was made at airport

A Guatemalan woman who was caught with shirts soaked in cocaine valued at €179,000 in her luggage at Dublin Airport has been jailed for three years.

Gardai said a chemical process would later have been used to extract the cocaine from the garments.

Keila Pineda Lopez (29), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at Dublin Airport in November 22 last year. She had no previous convictions.

Gda Michael Higgins told Derek Cooney, prosecuting, that Lopez was intercepted by customs officers at Dublin Airport after travelling from Brazil.

Her luggage tested positive for cocaine and it was found there were 20 identical shirts soaked with the drug.

The shirts were analysed and the cocaine that would have been extracted was estimated to have a street value of €179,550.

Threats

Lopez told gardai she had been approached in her home country and offered €3,000 to transport the drugs. She said she was to be paid on her return and made allegations of threats.

Gardai accepted there had been a mixture of inducement and coercion involved in her participation in the offence.

Lopez had little English and had been given a note to give to a taxi driver with the name of a hostel, where she was to wait for further instructions.

Padraic Dwyer, defending, said his client was a mother of one child who she had as a teenager and left school to support.

He asked the court to take into account her guilty plea, co-operation with gardai and her remorse.

Judge Melanie Greally said the circumstances allowed her to depart from the presumptive minimum sentence of 10 years and she imposed a three-year sentence, to date from when Lopez went into custody.

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