Three men who had been captured while trying to smuggle drugs into Brussels Airport were each sentenced on Monday to 36 months imprisonment by the Brussels Correctional Tribunal, as per reports.

On 23 January, a 27-year-old man was captured with 75 pellets of cocaine in his stomach on a flight back from Curaçao.

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Upon arrival, the man failed a urine test that customs officials imposed. He was then taken to a hospital for a scan, where he confessed to having swallowed the pellets.

According to his lawyer, he had carried out the operation to pay for the damages of a traffic accident.

“As my client had refused to be vaccinated, he had lost his job as a cook and no longer had any income,” the lawyer explained. “He was unable to pay for the damage to a friend’s car and this acquaintance asked him to carry out the drug smuggling.”

His defence had hoped for some leniency, as the man confessed immediately and provided police with details on his clients.

The second suspect was arrested on 27 February on a flight back from the Dominican Republic.

The culprit, this time a 57-year-old Dutchman, was also taken to the hospital following a positive urine test where a scan revealed that he was carrying 560 grams of cocaine in his stomach.

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He had carried these 49 pellets at the request of a friend who had promised to pay him €4,000 in return.

His lawyer pleaded for a suspended sentence as his client had no previous criminal convictions. Yet he, too, was handed a 36-month sentence.

On the same day, customs found 1.9 kilograms of heroin in a hidden compartment of a suitcase on a flight back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The man’s lawyer claimed that he did not know that the drugs had been put in his suitcase: “My client has been living in Italy for ten years and had travelled to Nigeria for his mother’s funeral,” the defence added. “There, he was asked by a certain Peter to take that suitcase back to Italy. In exchange, Peter would pay for the funeral.”

Yet the tribunal was unimpressed by this defence. His sentence, too, was 36 months in jail.

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