Family of drugs mule who ate kilo of cocaine didn’t know he was out of the country

John Kennedy dos Santos Gurjao
John Kennedy dos Santos Gurjao

The aunt of a drugs mule who died aboard an Aer Lingus flight when a consignment of cocaine burst in his stomach, says her nephew's family didn’t know he had left the country.

Lourdes Gurjão, told the that her nephew, John Kennedy dos Santos Gurjao, had told his family that he was at home in Macapa, northern Brazil, where he had lived for the past year.

"I received a call from the consulate asking us if we knew what happened. But in fact we didn’t know he was out of the country, we didn’t know where he went.” she said.

John Kennedy had eight brothers and his parents had passed away early in his life, according to

24-year-old John Kennedy died after packets containing almost a kilo of drugs burst in his stomach.

The young man then sank his teeth into a passenger aboard an Aer Lingus flight, before screaming and seizing on the floor

Aer Lingus cabin crew were forced to use handcuffs to restrain John Kennedy when he began to convulse due to violent seizures.

The decision was made to divert the flight to Cork airport shortly before 5.40pm.

He was pronounced dead at Cork airport shortly after landing. 

A post mortem uncovered 0.8kg of cocaine hidden inside his body in 80 individually wrapped pellets.

It is estimated the drugs had a street value of approximately €56,000.

A 44-year-old woman on board the plane was subsequently arrested by Gardai under drugs trafficking legislation.

The female passenger, who was born in Angola, but who has a Portuguese passport and lives in Dublin, was taken to Togher Garda station in Cork.

A quantity of white powder was discovered in her baggage, which was later forensically analysed and discovered to be baking powder.

It is understood other passengers identified her as someone who was in the company Santos Gurgao before boarding the flight.

When gardai searched her luggage, they discovered 1.8kg of the white substance.

The woman remains in garda custody.