Sunday 25 September 2016

White powder found in luggage of woman travelling with 'Brazilian drugs mule' was baking soda

Published 20/10/2015 | 14:40

Garda technical team pictured during the examination of an Aer Lingus at Cork Airport on which the 24-year old man died.
Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Garda technical team pictured during the examination of an Aer Lingus at Cork Airport on which the 24-year old man died. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

White powder found in the luggage of woman travelling on the plane in which a Brazilian drugs mule died was baking soda.

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Forensic analysis carried out at the state laboratory has confirmed the woman's claim that the powder was not an illegal substance.

John Kennedy dos Santos Gurjao, a Brazilian national, died on board Aer Lingus flight EI 485, when a consignment of drugs burst in his stomach on Sunday

The 24-year-old had ingested approximately 0.8kg of suspected cocaine which were wrapped in 80 individually wrapped pellets.

It is estimated the drugs had a street value of approximately €56,000.

“Every seizure we make is a suspected drugs seizure until the forensic people decide otherwise,” a Garda source told independent.ie

“What was found in him as part of the post mortem has just gone off for toxicology testing.

The 24-year-old suffered a violent seizure during the flight, shortly after it had left Lisbon bound for Dublin.

A 44-year-old woman on board the plane was subsequently arrested by Gardai under drugs trafficking legislation.

The passenger, who was born in Angola, but who has a Portuguese passport and lives in Dublin, was taken to Togher Garda station in Cork where she is being questioned by Gardai.

It is understood other passengers identified her as someone who was in the company Santos Gurgao before boarding the flight.

When gardai searched her luggage, they discovered 1.8kg of white substance.

Aer Lingus cabin crew were forced to use handcuffs to restrain Mr Gurgao when he began to convulse due to violent seizures.

The decision was made to divert the flight to Cork airport shortly before 5.40pm.

He was declared dead despite attempts to resuscitate him.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that a number of packages had been recovered from the body of the deceased during the course of a post-mortem examination.

“The post-mortem has taken place. A number of packages have been recovered and have been forwarded for forensic examination,” the spokesman said.

“The toxicology results are awaited.”

Corkman John Leonard was on the flight, described the scene after the man first appeared to suffer a seizure,  and who   had to be restrained at the back of the plane before collapsing.

"Horrible. I would say a very violent end - to die that way in the back of an aeroplane, it's not right. It was not very pleasant at all," he said.

One man who attempted to restrain the passenger was bitten on the arm.

Mr Leonard told PJ Coogan's Opinion Line on Cork's 96fm two nurses and a doctor tried to resuscitate the man.

The captain of the flight had asked if there were any medics on board.

"After that it got worse I would say, his seizure seemed to get worse. He was actually on the ground shaking violently," Mr Leonard said.

"The noise he was making was like something I have never heard before.

"It's not something you'd hear everyday. It was like deep anguish is the best way I could describe it, very, very troubled. Not screaming in a sense you know if you'd hurt yourself or something, just a very guttural, from deep within him."

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