Man sentenced for drug smuggling

Mendoza ingested a kilo of cocaine in 84 separate pellets. (File photograph)

Mendoza ingested a kilo of cocaine in 84 separate pellets. (File photograph)

Wed, Feb 27, 2013, 00:00

A South American caught trying to smuggle €70,000 euro worth of drugs through Cork Airport has been sentenced to five years in jail by a court in Cork today.

Walter Mendoza, a 46-year-old Bolivian national, pleaded guilty to importing cocaine at Cork Airport on October 28th 2012 in relation the discovery of 84 pellets of cocaine in his system.

Today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Det Sgt Lar O’Brien said customs officers had become suspicious about Mendoza on his arrival in Cork and asked him about his itinerary.

As they spoke to him, he told them he needed to go the toilet and it emerged that he had ingested a kilo of cocaine in 84 separate pellets in a bid to smuggle them into Ireland.

Mendoza ended up spending seven days at Cork University Hospital as gardaí waited for him to pass the pellets which he had ingested in Brazil before flying to Amsterdam en route to Cork.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted Mendoza’s guilty plea but said smuggling cocaine all the way from the Andes into Cork was a serious offence.

He sentenced Mendoza to five years in jail but backdated it to last October when he was first taken into custody in relation to the drug smuggling incident.