Drug mule who hid cocaine pellets in body was 'glad to see gardaí'
A man who flew from Argentina to Dublin with 34 pellets of cocaine in his stomach and rectum in what he described as the “most painful ordeal of his life” has been given a partially suspended sentence.
Samuel Templeman (36), an unemployed handyman from the UK, spent several days with drug dealers in Buenos Aires where he was taught how to swallow drug pellets, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.
He had 17 pellets into his rectum and placed two between his buttocks, Garda John O'Reilly told prosecuting barrister Caroline Cummings BL.
He then boarded the 14-hour flight to Ireland where he was supposed to meet another dealer. He was picked up by customs officers on his arrival on May 8, this year.
Templeman, with an address in Lynten Rd, Surrey, England, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cocaine for sale or supply at Dublin Airport. He has no previous convictions.
Sentencing Templeman to three years' imprisonment, with the final two-and-a-half years suspended, Judge Pauline Codd noted he was “vulnerable prey” to the drug dealers. He has since been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, the court heard.
Templeman told gardaí he took up an offer from a friend to take a 10-day “holiday” to pick up the drugs after he lost his job and needed the money. He was paid £2500 for smuggling the cocaine, which had a street value of €23,870.
“He foolishly accepted the offer without knowing too many of the details,” defence barrister, Seamus Clarke BL, said.
During his time in Buenos Aires, Templeman spent almost all his time in a flat, before attending a baptism with drug dealers, the court heard. After the baptism he started practising how to swallow the drugs.
“The flight was the most uncomfortable and painful ordeal of his life,” Mr Clarke said, adding Templeman spent the flight in fear the pellets would burst inside him. “He was relieved when he met gardaí.”
The court heard Templeman made immediate and “fulsome” admissions to gardaí, including telling them the names of everyone he met in Argentina. He did not provide the name of the man who set up the trip, out of fear it would put others in danger, Mr Clarke said.
Templeman was brought up in the UK by his grandparents, believing his mother was his stepsister. He started using cannabis and drinking at the age of 11. Despite this, he had an excellent work history, Mr Clarke said. However, he fell into depression when he lost his job and his five-year marriage broke down.
“That led to him getting involved in this unfortunate enterprise,” Mr Clarke said.
Since being taken into custody in May, Templeman had been a “model” prisoner, the court heard. He worked in a trusted position in the prison reception and was described by the chaplain as a “gentle, kind and caring young man”.
Sentencing Templeman, Judge Codd noted his level of co-operation with gardaí was striking. She took into account several mitigating factors, including that he had no previous convictions and had recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
She backdated the sentence to when he first went into custody, meaning he is now eligible for release. She put a number of conditions in place, including that he must undergo drug counselling in the UK.