Spanish man who swallowed 500gs of cocaine to be sentenced

A SPANISH man has admitted attempting to smuggle cocaine worth an estimated �20,000 through Stansted Airport.

Juan Jose Fernandez Diaz, who lives in Madrid, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court yesterday (October 16) where he admitted a charge of drug smuggling.

The 38-year-old was stopped by Border Force officers at Stansted at around 7.30pm on Thursday (October 11) when he arrived on a flight from the Spanish capital.

He was questioned at passport control and was subjected to a search. When an officer asked him if he had eaten a large meal recently, Fernandez Diaz responded by punching himself repeatedly in the stomach.

Peter Avery, from Border Force, said: “Needless to say this was regarded as an unusual response and Fernandez Diaz was subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempting to import a controlled drug.”

Fernandez Diaz consented to an X-ray scan at Harlow’s Princess Alexandra Hospital which indicated the presence of foreign bodies in his rectum.

On Friday (October 12) he was transferred to UK Border Agency custody facilities at Heathrow where he started to produce internally concealed tape wrapped packages.

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Over the course of the next five days, Fernandez Diaz produced a total of 49 packages, all of which contained cocaine. In total he had swallowed approximately 500gs of the Class A drug worth an estimated �20,000.

Fernandez Diaz told officers that he had agreed to smuggle the drugs in return for a payment of 2,000 euros. He said he had worked for 16 years as a furniture removal and repairman, but had lost his job. His house was in the process of being re-possessed and he said he had only smuggled the drugs to support his wife and their two young children.

Peter Avery, from Border Force, said: “This case shows the desperate lengths some people will go to in an attempt to smuggle illegal drugs on to the UK’s streets.

“It is a sobering reminder to those who would buy cocaine and fuel the illegal drugs trade that this is often the reality of how it is brought into the UK – inside drugs mules.

“We are serious about tackling the criminals responsible for bringing illegal drugs into Britain and this case should serve as a warning to others.”

Fernandez Diaz was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling can call the smuggling hotline on 0800 59 5000.