A drugs courier who was caught trying to smuggle £24,000 worth of cocaine into Northern Ireland has been jailed for two years.
Antrim Crown Court heard that officers from the UK Borders Agency at Belfast International Airport were suspicious of 38-year-old Lamine Sambu after he got off a flight from Amsterdam on November 3 last year.
Prosecution lawyer Neil Connor said although he claimed not to have anything illegal on him, an X-ray revealed seven small packages concealed internally.
It later transpired that the packages were filled with high grade cocaine.
He told the court analysis showed there was a total of 66.48 grammes of cocaine with a purity level of 48%.
Arrested and interviewed, Sambu, who is originally from Guinea Bissau in Africa but who had been living in Portugal with his wife and four children since 1990, claimed the drugs were for his own personal use after he was handed them in a Dutch nightclub.
However, the lawyer said Sambu's account “doesn't really stand up” and had a “number of holes”.
Sambu, with an address at Molesworth Mews in Cookstown, later pleaded guilty to importing class A drugs on November 3 last year.
A defence lawyer told the court that Sambu, who came to Northern Ireland last September looking for work in the construction industry, was to be paid £2,000 for smuggling the drugs into the country but that he had not received any money.
Jailing Sambu, Judge David Smyth QC told him the quantity of drugs “was not the largest amount”, but that nevertheless was still worth a significant amount of money.