A man who flew from Argentina to Dublin with 34 cocaine pellets inside his body - giving him what he described as the "most painful ordeal of his life" - has been given a partially suspended sentence.
Samuel Templeman (36), an unemployed handyman from the UK, spent several days with drug dealers in Buenos Aires, where he was taught how to swallow the pellets, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
He was supposed to ingest 100 pellets but was only able to swallow 15 before he inserted another 17 in his body and placed two more between his buttocks, Gda John O'Reilly told prosecuting barrister Caroline Cummings.
He then boarded the 14-hour flight to Ireland, where he was picked up by customs officers on his arrival last May 8.
Templeman, with an address in Lynton Road, Surrey, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cocaine for sale or supply at Dublin Airport. He has no previous convictions.
Sentencing him to three years' imprisonment, with the final two-and-a-half years suspended, Judge Pauline Codd noted he was "vulnerable prey" to the drug dealers. He has since been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, the court heard.
The judge backdated the sentence to when he first went into custody, meaning he is now eligible for release.
Templeman told gardai he took up an offer from a friend to take a 10-day "holiday" to pick up the drugs after he lost his job and needed the money. He was paid £2,500 (€3,000) for smuggling the cocaine, which had a street value of €23,870.
"The flight was the most uncomfortable and painful ordeal of his life," defence barrister Seamus Clarke said. "He was relieved when he met gardai."
The court heard Templeman made immediate admissions to officers.
Templeman started using cannabis and drinking at the age of 11. Despite this, he had an excellent work history, Mr Clarke said.
However, he fell into depression when he lost his job and his five-year marriage broke down.