Saturday 24 February 2018

Woman sentenced to three years for smuggling cocaine hidden in clothes hangers

Independent.ie reporters

A VENEZUELAN woman who smuggled nearly €70,000 worth of cocaine into the country hidden in clothes hangers has been sentenced to three years.

Cecilia Carmel Suarez Parejo (34) was to be paid €1,200 by an unknown individual to bring the cocaine through customs from Costa Rica. She wanted to use the money to pay for an operation for her child in Venezuela.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced her to three years in prison.

Parejo of Entrada Cassa in Lost Teques, Venezuela pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importing nearly one kilogram of cocaine worth €67,880 on November 11, 2011.

Garda Jerome Twomey told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that after he received confidential information he observed an Aer Lingus plane land at Dublin Airport from Gatwick in London.

Gardai followed Parejo to a guest house at Terenure Road East where she met a co-accused, a Nigerian man who has since absconded.

Parejo was seen by gardai carrying a large handbag. After she got into a car driven by the co-accused, they searched it and found seven clothes hangers inside the handbag. Cocaine was concealed inside the coat hangers.

Parejo was arrested and admitted to gardai that she met an individual in Costa Rica who promised her money if she brought the cocaine into Ireland.

Defence counsel Eoin Hardiman BL said Parejo, who has no previous convictions, was targeted because of her difficult financial background.

“Her husband was shot dead and she wanted to raise money for an operation her daughter needed,” said Mr Hardiman.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a three year sentence and back dated it to November 2011 when Parejo went into custody.

He noted: “She succumbed to temptation for her need for money to deal with a family situation.”

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