A Costa Rican chef and Nigerian hematologist who met on an online dating website have been jailed for importing over €67,000 of cocaine hidden in the soles of their shoes.
Costa Rican mother-of-three Gerly Juarez (37) claimed her lover, Kingsley Edward (44), bought her the shoes and told her to wear them as they set off for a holiday in Ireland. He wore an identical set himself.
Edward, who previously served a seven and a half year sentence for a similar offence in the UK, told gardai he was €30,000 in debt from his electrical goods importation business in Lagos.
He admitted seizing an opportunity to transport drugs to Ireland in return for €3,000 while he was visiting Panama to sort out issues with this importation business.
Edward, who is a UK citizen, pleaded guilty to possessing 544g of cocaine worth €38,108 for sale or supply at Dublin Airport Terminal 1 on April 15, 2014.
Juarez from San Jose pleaded guilty to possessing 427g of the drug worth €29,100 for sale or supply at the same location and date. She has no previous convictions.
At a vacation sitting of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Garda John Hanley told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that a third person who was stopped with the couple and was wearing similar cocaine packed shoes has yet to be dealt with by the courts.
The garda agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending Juarez, that his client told customs officials she had never taken drugs in her life and that her voluntary urine sample had been negative.
He agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending Edward, that a third party in Panama had been responsible for packaging the cocaine and that her client was a drugs mule.
Ms Biggs submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that Edward’s previous conviction arose when he was “duped into carrying out an act” by another person in 2008.
Counsel said this conviction made it hard for Edward to get work in hospitals and he set up his Lagos business, which then got into financial difficulty.
Mr McGinn submitted that his client is not an educated woman, but is studying a variety of artistic subjects in prison.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring commented that Juarez’s children have suffered from her being in custody.
She imposed a five year sentence backdated to when Juarez entered custody in April and suspended the final four years.
The judge deemed Edward previous conviction as an aggravating factor and sentenced him to seven years in jail with the final four years suspended. She ordered that he leave Ireland within 48 hours of his release and not return for ten years.