Kingswood teen admits importing £80K worth of cocaine hidden inside car parts – Bristol Live
A Kingswood teenager who admitted importing cocaine with a street value of some £80,000 from Brasil to the UK has been sent to youth custody. Deliveroo driver Gabriel Coelho initially claimed he was bringing in jewellery, Bristol Crown Court heard.
He was rumbled after Border Force officials intercepted a consignment of car suspension arms at East Midlands Airport and found just under a kilo of the Class A drug secreted inside them. An operation led by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) then zeroed in on Coelho in Bristol and, thanks to a sneaky scientific move, he was brought to book.
Coelho, 19, of Courtney View, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the importation of a Class A drug in February. He also admitted stealing a mobile phone.
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Judge Michael Longman handed him four years and three months youth custody. He told Coelho: “It seems to me you performed a limited function under direction.”
Simon Goodman, prosecuting, said the Border Force intercepted a package at East Midlands Airport in February. The package contained four car suspension arms, which were due to be sent to Coelho (under a false name) in Bristol and linked to his mobile telephone number.
When the parts were drilled open all four contained around 245-246g of 54-55 percent pure cocaine. The haul was deemed to have a street value of some £80,000, the court heard.
Mr Goodman said the car parts were emptied and resealed and made to look like they had not been tampered with. Crucially, a UV substance was smeared over them and a police “courier” then brought them down to Coelho in Bristol.
The court heard the “courier” delivered the package to Coelho and even grabbed a photo of him with it. About 40 minutes afterwards police raided his home and the UV trap confirmed only Coelho had touched the delivery.
He initially told police he was expecting jewellery, Mr Goodman said. He was to face trial on August 8, but pleaded guilty to cocaine importation.
Paul Cornelius, a probation officer, reported that Ceolho told him he had met a man in Bristol who propositioned him to receive the package for others. The court heard Coelho reckoned he stood to earn some £500 for his role.
George Threlfall, defending, said his client had been urged not to “hang out” with the man. Mr Threlfall told the court: “He took a huge risk for what most would consider a relatively small reward.”
Mr Threlfall said the cocaine intercepted was 54 to 55 per cent pure, and therefore at the lower end of the “normal” 50 to 89 per cent pure cocaine smuggled into the UK. He said Coelho had intended to try and send money to his mum in central Brasil, whose home had been devastated by a landslide.
Temporary DCI Charlotte Tucker of the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) said: “This was a brazen attempt to import £100k worth of Class A drugs direct from Brazil to his door – a valuable commodity for the organised crime group, meaning further exploitation and harm in our communities.
“The initial interception by colleagues at Border Force and the response led …….