Northern Ireland

Woman given suspended sentence over cocaine haul

A woman who was forced by her husband to become involved in importing high-purity cocaine has been given a five-year suspended sentence.

Belfast Recorder Tom Burgess said he accepted she had been under severe pressure to take part in the international drugs scam.

The 32-year-old cannot be named to protect her identity.

The judge said he had no doubt her husband and his associates were "ruthless criminals".

He said he believed they "would have no compunction whatsoever in resorting to serious violence".

The woman was arrested after police raided her home. She brought them to a package which had been sent to her address from Argentina under a false name.

The package contained 262.5 grammes of 90% pure cocaine, the highest percentage ever found in Northern Ireland.

During a series of 50 further police interviews, the 32-year-old admitted her involvement in drug smuggling.

In total, she pleaded guilty to 34 charges relating to the importation of cocaine, possessing it with intent to supply, possessing cannabis, as well as charges relating to converting, concealing and removing cash.

In total, the offences relate to the movement of £440,000 and an unknown quantity of cocaine.