Student jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine into Ireland to pay college fees

Student jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine into Ireland to pay college fees

An English language student who agreed to transport cocaine because he needed money to pay college fees has been jailed for two and a half years.

Lucas Lima (25) was offered between €1,000 and €3,000 to bring a bag containing €139,650 in cocaine from Spain into Dublin.

The Brazilian national, with an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, to importation of drugs at Dublin Airport on January 11, 2016.

Lima was picked up by Revenue officials at the airport using customs profiling techniques. He was returning from a two day trip to Barcelona and had an extra suitcase with him.

When stopped, customs officers found three plastic bottles in the second case. The bottle lids were glued tight and when forced open they contained cocaine.

Sean Guerin SC, defending, said at the time his client had to renew his student visa to stay in Ireland. To do this he had to have a place in an English language college and this cost thousands of euro, counsel said.

Lima told gardai that he met a Brazilian man who knew Lima didn't have enough money to cover these costs. This man offered to pay him on completing the delivery of the package from Spain.

Garda Kevin Nolan said that Lima knew he'd be bringing something illicit or illegal. He agreed he was naive to get involved.

Mr Guerin said the offence was out of character for his client and that Lima was unlikely to ever re-offend. Counsel said Lima would undertake to leave Ireland and never return.

Judge Elma Sheahan said the circumstances of the case allowed her to depart from the mandatory minimum of ten years imprisonment applicable to this offence. She noted, however, that Lima had become involved purely for monetary gain.

She said he did not have the addiction issues or social and educational disadvantages of others that come before the courts and she did not accept he was naïve.

Judge Sheahan imposed a six year sentence and suspended the final three and a half years.