A ‘WELL-TRUSTED drugs courier’ who smuggled half a kilo of high-quality cocaine – worth up to £225,000 – into Jersey in a fire extinguisher has been jailed for eight years.
The Royal Court heard that French national Anne-Solene Letertre (39) travelled from St Malo by ferry on the morning of 23 April with the high-grade drugs concealed inside a fire extinguisher in the boot of her car.
They were assessed to have a purity level of 70%, making them worth £80,000 to £110,000 unadulterated, the court heard. But a police drugs expert said that if mixed with other substances and sold in one-gram wraps they could have fetched between £120,000 and £225,000.
Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit, prosecuting, said customs officers questioned Letertre after she arrived in Jersey. He said: ‘She said she was on a day trip and was dropping off some material for someone. She didn’t know the name of the person.’
They looked in the boot of her car and found welding equipment and a fire extinguisher, the base of which had recently been welded. An X-ray of the canister revealed its contents.
Letertre at first claimed she did not know what it contained, but later pleaded guilty to the charge of being involved in the evasion of the prohibition on the importation of drugs.
The Crown Advocate said both the quantity and the quality of drugs put her in the ‘upper sentencing bracket’ and she was at high risk of reconviction owing to her own use of drugs.
He said: ‘She was a well-trusted drugs courier. She was close to the source and was aware of the drugs.
‘Drugs ruin lives and have an incredibly damaging impact on the local community.’
He recommended the court hand down a sentence of ten-and-a-half years.
Advocate Mike Preston, defending, disputed the prosecution’s description of Letertre. He said it was likely that she would have been paid to transport more drugs into Jersey until she was eventually caught, and added: ‘Rather than a well-trusted courier, she was treated more like an expendable mule.’
Letertre was following proceedings in court via a French interpreter and Advocate Preston said: ‘She has three young children; she has never been in prison before; she speaks very little English and she has found herself isolated in an English-speaking prison since 23 April.
‘I’m not saying that she did not bring this on herself. All offenders know the impact that their offending will have on their families. But that impact is no less real.’
Letertre has asked to serve her sentence in a French prison and the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, said the Jurats were minded to recommend her deportation in any case.
Jurats Collette Crill, Robert Christensen, Elizabeth Dulake, Steven Austin-Vautier and Gareth Hughes were sitting.