Court jails Venezuelan woman for drug trafficking

A Venezuelan woman who acted as a drugs mule to traffic over €200,000 worth of cocaine from Buenos Aires to Cork Airport earlier this year was jailed for three years this evening.

Leyra Navas Corrales from Valencia in Venezuela was stopped by Customs and Excise officers at the airport on May 2.

The gardaí were alerted and Detective Sergeant Jason Lynch said that almost 2.8kgs of cocaine was found in her luggage with a street value of €208,000.

Det. Sgt Lynch said the accused had flown from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Malaga, Spain, and then to Cork.

John Phelan, senior counsel, said she was a classic drugs mule – a disadvantaged person used by bigger players in the international drugs business.

"She now finds herself in the most unbelievable nightmare in a foreign country with no English, and a baby to contend with. She was made a fool of by people who are probably now in some resort enjoying the fruits of their drug-dealing," Mr Phelan SC said.

In evidence yesterday the accused said she did not know the person who had given her the drugs and she did not know the identity of the person who was to pick them up in Cork.

She had been instructed that someone would phone her in Cork on her arrival.

Navas Corrales was to be paid €2,000 for carrying the drugs.

The defendant’s baby girl was born two-and-a-half months ago and her own mother traveled from Venezuela to Ireland to look after the child.

The defendant faced possible life imprisonment or a minimum of ten years today but Judge Patrick J. Moran said that in all of the circumstances he was prepared to impose a sentence of six years with the last three years of the sentence to be suspended.

Mr Phelan SC praised the Irish Prison Service for the support given to the defendant in relation to her baby in such difficult circumstances.


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