Smugglers caught with their pants down

DRUG smugglers who were busted at Stansted Airport with nearly �100,000 worth of cocaine in their pants have been jailed for a total of eight years. Unemployed Latvian Diana Sosnovska, 25, and Freddy Quintero-Mendoza, a 49-year-old Venezuelan cook, were b

DRUG smugglers who were busted at Stansted Airport with nearly �100,000 worth of cocaine in their pants have been jailed for a total of eight years.

Unemployed Latvian Diana Sosnovska, 25, and Freddy Quintero-Mendoza, a 49-year-old Venezuelan cook, were both sentenced to four years behind bars.

The pair, who appeared to be travelling together, were arrested at Stansted Airport on June 16 2008 after arriving on a flight from Milan.

Maddy Ratnett from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said: "This case demonstrates the great lengths that smugglers will go to in an attempt to conceal illegal drugs. The sentences handed down today to these couriers should send out a clear message that you will pay the price."


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Sosnovska, who lives in north London, was stopped and searched by officers from the UK Border Agency. Three drug packages were discovered in her briefs and a further three were concealed in her bra, including one in the padding. In total officers recovered 638 grams of crack cocaine with a street value of �46,000.

Mendoza from Brentwood was also stopped by officers but refused to be searched until a warrant was obtained. The case was passed over to officers from HMRC for further investigation. Later when Mendoza was searched, a package was found strapped to his groin area, kept tightly in place with cling film.

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Both Sosnovska and Mendoza were charged with smuggling offences and remanded in custody.

X-rays taken later revealed that Mendoza had a number of packages in his stomach that he had swallowed. He eventually passed 17 small pellets each one approximately 3cm long and under went surgery to remove the last two pellets. In total approximately 498 grams of cocaine was recovered from Mendoza with a street value of �50,000.

Ms Ratnett said: "We always pursue those who mastermind and finance this type of illegal trade and would urge anyone with information about drug smuggling to call the Customs' Hotline on 0800 59 5000."

Both were charged with being knowingly concerned in the importation of cocaine and both pleaded guilty to the offences.

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