Friday 15 December 2017

Grandmother jailed for importing €400,000 worth of cocaine

A GRANDMOTHER, who was under severe financial pressure and imported over €400,000 worth of cocaine, has been sentenced to eight years, with the final six and a half years suspended.

Martina Joseph (45) acted as a courier for a person in her home country of Saint Lucia, who ordered her to bring cocaine in a suitcase into Ireland but her luggage was misplaced in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on a stop-over.

Joseph travelled onto Ireland without the drugs and booked into a hotel. Her suitcase, containing the drugs, arrived two weeks later and was delivered to the hotel she was staying in.

Her daughter Suella Joseph (23) was sentenced earlier this year to a seven year term, with six years suspended, for importing over €150,000 worth of cocaine from Saint Lucia in the West Indies.

She was told her mother was being held by a gang until she brought over a replacement batch as a “ransom.”

Martina Joseph ,of Castriesbabonneau, Saint Lucia, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importation of €411,579 worth of cocaine to Ireland between December 22, 2010 and January 18, 2011.

Garda Lorraine Brennan told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman BL, that gardai received a confidential tip-off that Joseph was intending to travel to Ireland on December 19, 2010 with drugs.

Due to the bad weather, pieces of baggage from her flight, including her bag, were mislaid in Charles de Gaulle airport.

Joseph continued onto Dublin Airport and filled out forms reporting her luggage missing. She gave a forwarding address of Travel Lodge Hotel, in Swords, where she intended to stay for six days.

She moved to Travel Lodge Hotel in Castleknock on December 31, 2010 and her missing luggage was delivered to the hotel several days later.

Gardai received further information that another person, Joseph’s daughter, was arriving at Dublin Airport carrying drugs. Suella was observed travelling to the Castleknock hotel where she was met by her mother.

Both women were present in the room when gardai conducted a search and found two suitcases, which contained the cocaine hidden in the lining.

Both women were arrested and told gardai they entered the country to convey drugs to another person.

“They said someone in Saint Lucia provided them with the packed bags and Martina said she was being paid €6,000 to bring the drugs in,” said Gda Brennan.

“She said a Jamaican man called to the hotel and became angry when she had no luggage, as it was in Charles de Gaulle airport.”

Gda Brennan said Joseph denied assisting in procuring her daughter to bring drugs to make up for the lost cocaine as the first she knew of Suella arriving was 45 minutes before she came to the hotel.

Defence counsel Dominic McGinn SC, said Joseph, a mother of four and a grandmother, accepted she committed a serious crime.

“When she was arrested she made admissions about her own suitcase and accepted there were drugs in it, but she denied she knew her daughter was coming to Ireland with drugs too,” said Mr McGinn.

“She became a drug courier because her home life fell apart and she as under severe financial difficulties,” defence counsel added.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said Joseph was “used but decided to be used, to bring drugs into Ireland.”

“Whether she knew about her daughter bringing drugs through or not, her daughter knew about her mother,” said Judge Ring and ordered Joseph leave the country within 48 hours of the completion of her prison sentence.

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