A Brazilian sex worker who swallowed 1.2 kilos of cocaine to smuggle it into the UK has been jailed for more than four years.
Luan Irving Dos Santos Monteiro, 31, was reportedly stopped by border agents at Heathrow airport on Christmas Eve last year as he flew into Britain from Sao Paulo.
An x-ray revealed he had ingested 101 packages of cocaine with a street value of almost £100,000 before getting on the 11-hour flight.
His barrister, Graham Lloyd, told Isleworth crown court yesterday: “This was very much a crime of desperation.
“If at any time during the long flight from Sao Paulo any of the packages had burst, that would have probably meant instant death.”
Mr. Lloyd said Monteiro works as a sex worker in Brazil, where more than 200,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19.
“The position is far worse than the position here, and has led to financial devastation”, he said.
“It has had bad consequences for his employment as a sex worker.
“He tried to move his physical sex transactions to online sexual services, and he tells me that would be verified by his Twitter account on which he advertises sexual services.”
Monteiro confessed he uses drugs in his line of work and has racked up a debt worth around £2,000 which he was hoping to pay off through drug smuggling.
Prosecutor Anisha Kiri said Monteiro claimed he was travelling to the UK for a Christmas and New Year holiday and was being met by a friend called Emily.
“The defendant was taken for an x-ray which captured images indicating the presence of foreign objects in his abdomen”, she said.
“The defendant then admitted swallowing around 100 packages of what he believed was drugs.”
She added Monteiro’s passport indicated he had made a string of international trips since January last year. He was handed over by border agents to the National Crime Agency but made no comment in the interview.
Judge Edward Connell sentenced Monteiro to four years and two months in prison, telling him: “I accept you were motivated due to a drug debt you had accumulated in Brazil, and pressure had been brought to bear upon you and members of your family.”
Monteiro, who pleaded guilty to attempting to import class A drugs, will serve half his prison sentence in the UK before being released on license. After his released, he may then be deported back to Brazil.