Drug smuggler who Googled 'what to take to London in your suitcase' before he was caught trying to bring a kilo of cocaine is jailed for over 5-years

Tuesday, January 30, 2024
 – A Paraguayan drug smuggler who tried to bring a kilo of cocaine with him to the UK has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Armando Formigli Palma, 31, was caught during a routine check by Border Force at Heathrow Airport on 31 July 2023, after disembarking a plane from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

He claimed someone else had packed his bags for him but a Google search of 'what to what to take to London in your suitcase' was found on his phone.

The cocaine smuggler said he was visiting London to 'see the sights.' Yet an X-ray of his luggage revealed hidden compartments in two suitcases that contained the cocaine.

Formigli Palma admitted drug smuggling at Winchester Crown Court yesterday and was sentenced to five years and seven months.

Formigli Palma initially claimed he was given the luggage by a criminal organisation and did not pack the suitcases.

But it was gathered that he had been in contact with a second person who had sent him a hotel booking voucher, travel insurance, and a flight itinerary.

Formigli Palma's web history also revealed that he had looked up the weather forecast for the capital.

John Turner, National Crime Agency Operations Manager, said: 'Formigli Palma invented a back story to try and avoid the consequences of his involvement in the drugs trade, underestimating the determination of our officers to uncover the truth.

'Drug mules like him play a crucial role in the business model of organised criminals, who fuel violence and exploitation across the UK.' 

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