A man’s plan to smuggle more than 600 grams of cocaine into Brisbane came unstuck when at least one of the pellets burst in his digestive system on a flight from Los Angeles.
French citizen Adrien Lionel van Langenhove agreed to carry the drugs into Australia to clear an $5600 business debt he had incurred while working and living in Costa Rica and Guatemala.
He arrived at Brisbane International Airport on December 3, 2017 and was searched by customs officers, who found traces of cocaine on his luggage.
However, they waved him through when they failed to locate any more drugs.
With pains in his stomach increasing, Van Langenhove, 39, sought help from a pharmacist who called an ambulance on his behalf.
He spent several days in hospital having 86 pellets containing 637 grams of cocaine removed from his body either by surgery or through natural expulsion.
Van Langenhove was arrested by police upon discharge, and today pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs.
He was sentenced to seven years’ jail with a non-parole period of four years.
The court heard he had travelled to Australia earlier in 2017 for work, and that this apparent display of wealth had been the catalyst for creditors to increase pressure for his debt to be repaid.
His barrister Simon Lewis said van Langenhove agreed to carry the drugs out of fear for his safety.
Van Langenhove has already spent 619 days in pre-sentence custody.
© AAP 2019