Two Peruvians Sentenced to 20 Years for Cocaine Smuggling
LONDON (AP) _ A Peruvian diplomat and a Lima businessman were convicted Friday of smuggling $6.3 million worth of cocaine into London in a diplomatic pouch and each was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Officers testified that 42 pounds of cocaine were still in the pouch, which was inside a suitcase, when Jose Manuel Pacheco, 45, and Carlos Alberto Margary, 47, were arrested by customs officers at a London hotel.
Pacheco held the rank of minister and headed the supplies department at the Peruvian Foreign Ministry when he was arrested last March. Margary operated a business in Lima, the Peruvian capital.
Pacheco was dismissed from his post by a Peruvian tribunal and the court was told that customs investigators received full cooperation from Peruvian authorities.
The cocaine arrived at London’s Heathrow airport after a two-day trip via the United States and Paris.
It was discovered March 24 when customs officers at Heathrow X-rayed Pacheco’s two suitcases.
Prosecutor David Calvert-Smith said: ″It became apparent to customs officers that what they were seeing was something that did not look very diplomatic.″
The officers left the leather pouch inside the suitcase and the luggage continued on to the delivery carousel where Pacheco collected it. He took a taxi into London and met Margary at a hotel where the two were found in possession of the cocaine, Calvert-Smith said.
Judge Christopher Tyrer said, ″This case is particularly serious because it involves the deliberate and outrageous abuse of diplomatic privileges.″
He told Margary: ″I am compelled to the view of you as a senior figure in the Peruvian drugs industry.″
Turning to Pacheco, he said, ″You have had all the advantages of intelligence and position. Instead you have betrayed yourself, your family and friends and you have brought discredit to the name of your country.″