A DESPERATE widow smuggled more than £225,000 worth of heroin into Jersey after joining a Portuguese drugs gang to escape a life of poverty.
Maria da Silva (48) offered to work as a drugs mule for the gang as she struggled to support her family in the depressed suburbs of Lisbon.
But her plot was rumbled when she was arrested by police just minutes after arriving at Jersey Airport.
She is today starting a five-year jail term. Delivering the Royal Court’s sentence, Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith said: ‘The desperate personal circumstances in which you found yourself, and which led to you accepting payment to act as a courier, illustrates the grim reality of this trade.’
Jersey-based dealer Manuel de Gouveia (28), who helped organise the importation, was jailed for seven years.
His girlfriend, Sandra Pereira (28), was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for attempting to move £8,000 in drugs money. And Alfredo Viveiros — a heroin addict and small-time dealer who played no part in importing the drugs — was jailed for three and a half years after admitting possession of drugs and possession with intent to supply.
Pictured: Maria da Silva