By Sonya McLean
A Brazilian mother of three who swallowed 112 capsules of cocaine before boarding a flight to Dublin has been jailed for 18 months.
Kelle Elaine Do Rosario Oliveira (30) of Passagen Santos, Belem Do Para Ananideua, Brazil, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply at Dublin Airport on October 11, 2020.
She has no previous convictions and has been in custody since her arrest.
Oliveira was stopped by custom and excise officers because there were issues with her documentation on arrival into the airport.
She later surrendered herself and indicated that she needed help.
A translator was sourced for her and she admitted that she had swallowed 90 capsules of cocaine in Brazil the day before she flew to Ireland.
She said she had been instructed to go to a particular hotel to remove the capsules and she was due to get a call for further instructions. She never received that call.
Oliveira was taken to hospital where she ultimately passed 112 capsules of the drugs which were worth an estimated €72,000.
Garda John Pirollo agreed with Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting that Oliveira co-operated with gardaí during questioning and outlined that she was a mother to three children who were being cared for by her 18-year-old sister in her home town.
She said she had been promised the equivalent of just under €1,150 to transport the drugs to Ireland.
Gda Pirollo agreed with Garnet Orange SC, defending that there were sinister people in the background who “through soft threats and inducement” had persuaded Oliveira to swallow the drugs.
Mr Orange told Judge Melanie Greally that his client came from an area of high crime and gangs and she currently feared that her teenage son would get involved in drugs if she wasn’t there to care for him.
She had written a letter to the court in which she asked for mercy “not for me but for my children, they need me”.
Counsel suggested that ingesting drugs in this manner is not something someone would do unless they were desperate.
He asked the court to take into account his client’s co-operation with the investigation and the fact that she is a foreign national in an Irish prison.
Judge Greally said Oliveira was “undoubtedly conducting this exercise for a financial incentive and with some degree of pressure to carry out the task”.
She accepted that she had committed the offence to improve her circumstances and that of her family.
Judge Greally suspended the final 18 months of a three-year term of imprisonment on the condition that Oliveira leave Ireland within seven days of her release and not return here for 20 years.