Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Woman swallowed bags of cocaine

judge's gavel

A Dutch woman who swallowed cocaine worth 520,000 in an attempt to smuggle it into Northern Ireland has been jailed for six years.

Gerda Lienga, 42, was arrested at Belfast International Airport last June after getting off a flight from Paris.

She was taken to a local hospital where 110 small packages containing more than a kilo of cocaine were recovered.

She was jailed on Friday at Ballymena Crown Court and will be deported on completion of her sentence.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who arrested Lienga, said the purity of the cocaine was above normal and "could pose higher risks to the courier and users".

Senior HMRC officer John Whiting said: "Criminals dealing in drugs with high purity levels are thinking solely of increased profits, to further fund their illegal activity.

"They show utter disregard for the damage drugs do to individuals and communities."

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