A Brazilian woman who attempted to smuggle more than 2.5kg of cocaine into the country in the false bottom of a suitcase has been jailed for two and a half years.
Santana Silvana (26) agreed to bring cocaine wort over €175,000 into Dublin Airport in January out of financial “desperation”, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.
Silvana, with an address in Sao Paolo, Brazil, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of drugs for sale or supply at the airport on January 24th, 2022. She has been in custody since her arrest.
Emmet Nolan BL, prosecuting, told the court that on the day in question, customs officers searched Silvana's bag and discovered an anomaly when it was x-rayed.
The suitcase was discovered to have a false bottom, which was found to contain two bags of white powder. The cocaine had a street value of €176,162, the court heard.
Silvana has no previous convictions in Brazil.
Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, told the court that Silvana agreed to transport the drugs out of “financial desperation”.
At the time of the offence, she was living in a deprived community in Sao Paolo, working as a cleaner and attempting to support her mother and her nine-year-old child.
Silvana had just got notice that her electricity and water was going to be cut off when she agreed to take the drugs for a financial reward, the court was told.
Mr Dwyer brought the court through a psychological report which stated Silvana's decision to transport the drugs was shaped by limited choice.
The court heard she is a lone mother, is extremely remorseful for her actions, and is finding her time in prison very challenging as she has limited English.
Handing down sentence, Judge Martin Nolan noted that in the higher courts the curve for such cases is “towards severity at the moment”.
“You're more likely to be criticised for being lenient than severe,” he said.
He noted that while a non-custodial sentence in this case would be unrealistic, he acknowledged it was “sad” and was done “out of desperation”.
Judge Nolan handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence, backdated to when Silvana went into custody last January.