Saturday 16 December 2017

Woman smuggled half a kilo of cocaine to pay for hysterectomy

Conor Gallagher

A BOLIVIAN woman has been jailed for smuggling cocaine to pay for a hysterectomy.

Maria Vargos Rios (39) swallowed nearly half a kilogram of cocaine in pellets worth €32,348. When she was caught at Dublin Airport she was passing blood because of her womb cancer and had to be brought to hospital.

The court heard she has three children in Bolivia and was smuggling the drugs to pay for their care and her cancer treatment.

Rios of Santa Cruz pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importation of cocaine at Dublin Airport on July 21, 2012. She has been in custody since her arrest.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted the woman was genuinely remorseful and that the quantity of drugs was relatively small. However he said he had no choice but to impose a one-year jail term which he backdated to July.

He also ordered she be deported to her home country on release.

The court heard the woman was given the drugs by a person called "the fat one" in Santa Cruz. She was to get USD$5,000 for smuggling one kilogram but was only able to swallow 460 grams.

Her defence counsel said she was in dire circumstances and was planning to return home and have a hysterectomy.

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