TWO British pensioners were jailed for eight years today for trying to smuggle £1million of cocaine on a luxury Caribbean cruise.
Cocaine cruise codger Roger Clarke, 72, whispered “Jesus Christ” as he was caged along with his wife Sue, 71, in Portugal this afternoon.
Police pictures show the suit cases before being taken apart to show the hidden Cocaine in the Clarke’s cabin[/caption]
The pair were arrested on board the Marco Polo cruise liner, in December, when cops found nine kilos of coke in the lining of four suitcases Roger was handed on St Lucia.
The Clarke’s had been in the middle of a dream £6,800 Caribbean cruise when Portuguese officials were tipped of by UK cops.
Retired chef Roger told a trial in Lisbon he had no idea drugs were in the cases and he was taking them back to the UK for a friend called ‘Lee’.
Clarke told the court ‘Lee’ was a UK-based Jamaican businessman who worked with an associate called ‘Dee,’ who he named in court as George Wilmot.
The ex-chef whispered to his wife in court: “Jesus Christ, I wasn’t expecting more than four” as they were sentenced and ordered to serve their sentences in Portugal.
Mr Clarke held hands with his wife as they learnt their fate through a translator before blurting out his shock at the length of his sentence.
Ex-chef Roger Clarke, 72, and his wife Sue, 71, arrive at court in Lisbon to be sentenced[/caption]
The drugs were found in the lining of the cases (see above)[/caption]
He claimed he had been helping Lee and Dee negotiate the import of ‘exotic fruit’ and had agreed to carry the suitcases as a sideline.
He said he had been promised £800 and bragged he could sell the suitcases for a massive profit at Harrods.
State prosecutor Manuela Brito rubbished his claims, insisting the Brit couple were established drug mules, who used four cruises to South America in two years as a front.
Prosecutor Brito questioned how they could pay for the £18,000 of cruises on a joint monthly pension of £1,150 with a rent of £445.
The couple said they had saved for them – but in reality the couple were making up to £26,000-a-cruise from smuggling.
Roger Clarke told the court he gave away the three suitcases he embarked on the cruise from Tilbury, Essex.
Ex-secretary Sue, originally of Wellingborough, Northants., said she only knew her husband’s business associates socially and never accompanied him when he negotiated ‘fruit sales’.
Mr Clarke, originally of Kent, and mum-of-three Sue both served prison sentences in Norway after being convicted in 2010 for trafficking 240 kilos of cannabis resin.
Clarke said he got into drugs-running to clear debts and was made to do more with his wife as cover after being threatened with violence by gangster paymasters if he stopped.
Most read in news
The expat pair, of Guardamar del Segura, near Alicante, Spain, were convicted of drugs trafficking following a one-day trial on Tuesday The offence carries a prison sentence of up to 12 years in Portugal.
Roger, who switched to Clarke from Button after being released from prison, in Norway, was jailed for nearly five years.
Sue was jailed for three years nine months. They have already served nine months in custody.
Despite being asked for a switch to Britain to serve their sentences at home they were ordered to remain in Portugal.