Dominican Drug smuggler caught after asking Customs for directions - A Dutch national was caught importing €70,000 worth of cocaine into the country after he got lost in the airport and asked a Customs officer for directions.

Cristobal Nieuw (64) had ingested 98 pellets of cocaine and was transporting them from Brazil when he was caught.

Nieuw, with an address at The Hague in the Netherlands but originally from Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importation of 1.004kg of cocaine worth €70,295.

Judge Patrick McCartan said there was enough in Nieuw’s favour to avoid imposing the mandatory minimum term of 10 years. However, he said a jail term must be imposed and sentenced Nieuw to four years.

Prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL told the court that when Nieuw arrived at the airport he became lost and approached a Customs officer for directions. The officer became suspicious and noticed Nieuw’s bag smelled very badly.

Nieuw was detained but no drugs were found in his bag. A blood test revealed evidence of cocaine in his system.

He admitted to swallowing 98 pellets, asking officers: “If I show it to you, is there any chance you can let me go?”

He was arrested and brought to Beaumont Hospital, where he passed the pellets over two days.

He later told gardaí­ he had swallowed the drugs in Brazil and was to be paid €7,000 to transport them. His travel expenses were also being paid for by the owners of the cocaine.

Defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC said his client is a vulnerable person who is genuinely remorseful.

He read out a letter on behalf of Nieuw apologising to the people of Ireland, the courts and gardaí.

Go back | Date: 19 Dec 2013
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