Drug smuggler ‘swallowed 80 packets of cocaine’

The High Court in Glasgow heard how Atueyi had swallowed 80 packages of the drug. Picture: John Devlin
The High Court in Glasgow heard how Atueyi had swallowed 80 packages of the drug. Picture: John Devlin
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A drug smuggler who swallowed 80 packages of cocaine with a maximum street value of £387,400 was caught at Edinburgh Airport, a court has been told.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Mathew Atueyi was spoken to when he arrived at the airport from Nigeria via Paris on August 2.

An officer of the UK Border Force was suspicious when it was discovered that Atueyi was in possession of £2,000 in cash.

A urine test on 48-year-old Atueyi tested positive for cocaine. Officers carried out a strip search on him and found nothing.

He was then taken to St John’s Hospital in Livingston where he was x-rayed and it was discovered there were multiple packages inside him.

Advocate depute David Nicolson, prosecuting, said: “He was subsequently transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he excreted 80 packages weighing around 1,192 grams in total.

“Six of the packages were examined and found to be cocaine with an average purity of 65 per cent. The drug expert witness unit considers this to be importation purity. The street level purity of cocaine in the east of Scotland is only 10 per cent.”

Atueyi told the UK Border Force that lived in the city of Onitsha in south-eastern Nigeria and that he traded in cars as well as running a boutique selling clothes.

He initially claimed that the £2,000 he had in his possession was to buy clothes for his boutique.

But eventually he confessed that he had been paid £2,000 up front to smuggle drugs and was to receive a further £2,000 when he delivered them.

He admitted he knew it was drugs he had swallowed, but said he had not known precisely which one.

Atueyi admitted being concerned in smuggling cocaine on August 2 at Edinburgh Airport.

The court heard that the maximum potential street value of the cocaine was around £387,400.

Judge Lord Burns deferred sentence on Atueyi until next month and ordered the £2,000 found in his possession to be confiscated.

Atueyi was crying as he was led away from court.