A sex worker who swallowed 101 packages of cocaine before attempting to smuggle the class A drugs into the UK has been jailed for more than four years.
The student, who had been flying from Sao Paulo, claimed he had been working as a drug mule to pay off his debts during the coronavirus pandemic.
X-ray images showed Monteiro, who was later handed to the National Crime Agency (NCA), had ingested 101 packages of cocaine – totalling 2.6lb in weight.
Luan Irving Dos Santos Monteiro, 31, originally from Macapá in Brazil, was detained by Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport last year as he tried to smuggle cocaine into the country
The student was sentenced to four years and two months in prison.
Isleworth Crown Court heard that he will serve half his four-year prison sentence in the UK before being released on licence.
Anesha Kiri, prosecuting, said: ‘On 24 December 2020, the defendant had arrived at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport having travelled from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
‘The defendant was intercepted by Border Force officers at immigration control and he was escorted to the customs Green channel. Here he stated that he had nothing to declare.
‘The defendant confirmed that his baggage belonged to him, he confirmed that nobody had asked him to bring anything to the UK.
‘He said he was travelling the UK for the Christmas and New Year holidays, and said he was staying with a friend called Emily who was waiting outside.
‘At 4pm the defendant was arrested on the suspicion of being involved in the importation of a controlled drug.
‘At approximately 4.20pm, the X-ray images taken indicated the presence of foreign bodies in his abdomen. The defendant admitted swallowing approximately 100 packages of controlled drugs, namely cocaine.
‘A search of his baggage revealed a quantity of cash amounting to £320 and US$500.
‘At approximately 5.20pm, the defendant used a specimen exclusion retrieval toilet, where he produced 42 wrapped packages.
‘Over the course of an hour, a total of 101 packages were produced. The purity of the drugs was 82 per cent.
‘The wholesale value of these drugs is around £50,000, the street value is about £98,000.
‘The defendant was interviewed and provided a no comment interview. He has no previous convictions in the UK.
‘He was motivated by financial gain, as he has undertaken such a dangerous task, particularly to his health.’
Graham Lloyd, defending, said: ‘We see this as a crime of desperation, if at any time in the flight from Sao Paulo, it stands to reason, that any of these 101 packages exploded, that would have meant instant death.
‘Mr Dos Santos Monteiro instructs me he has been working as a sex worker in Brazil, and he is HIV positive.
‘The Covid situations in Brazil, which is far worse than here, has meant disaster for his work as a sex worker.
‘He told me in the course of his work he uses various drugs that he purchases from a drug supplier, and the debt he owed this supplier rose from three thousand reals to 15 thousand reals, which is approximately the sum of £2,000.
X-ray images later showed Monteiro had ingested 101 packages of cocaine – totalling 2.6lb in weight
‘Mr Dos Santos was not able to pay this back, he tried to move his physical transactions to online sexual transactions, and that will be verified by his Twitter account which advertises his sexual services.
‘He tells me that his drug supplier threatened him, his mother and his siblings. He told me he stands by his guilty plea.
‘He is subject to being deported halfway through his sentence.’
Judge Edward Connell said: ‘You are due to be sentenced for your offence, that is for fraudulent evasion of a prohibition, or in layman’s terms, drug smuggling.
‘You pleaded guilty in the lower court, because of your early guilty plea, you are entitled to a one third reduction in your sentence.
‘Brazil is a significant transit country for the smuggling of cocaine, that is because it shares an extensive border with Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
‘You were working as sex worker in Brazil, and Covid impacted your ability to make money, and you were taking to trying to ease your debt to your drug suppliers. Your suppliers threatened you and your family.
‘I agree with the prosecution that this straddles a significant and lesser role in drug dealing.
‘You were plainly motivated by financial rewards, and having swallowed 101 packages, you must have had some awareness of the scale of this operation.
‘Inevitably you did so because there are such severe financial pressures at home, and you partook in this enterprise out of desperation. You also obviously had no influence on those above you in the operation.
‘There is an aggravating factor in the purity of the drugs, but this is counterbalanced by your previous good character.
‘This court sees on a daily basis the damage that drugs wreaks on this community.
‘I take into account your health, the fact that you do not speak English, and the fact that you will be facing a prison sentence away from home.
‘I sentence you to four years two months in prison, and order the seizure of the £320 and US$500.
‘You will serve half of your sentence in custody, and then you will be released. You will serve the remainder of your sentence on license.
‘As for your deportation, it is a matter for the Home Office.’
Monteiro admitted fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importing of a Class A drug, namely cocaine.