Northern Ireland: Paraguayan woman who brought cocaine to Belfast in stomach sentenced

Lawyer says accused promised between £2,000 and £3,000 for her role in the operation, which she didn’t receive

A Paraguayan woman who was “ruthlessly exploited and trafficked” and who acted as a drugs mule was handed a three-year sentence today (Friday).

Ramona Cibils was arrested in October 2021 after she passed 37 plastic wraps containing cocaine in a hotel room in Belfast which she damaged after being “abandoned” for days.

She was approached by others in her native country then travelled to Brazil, London and Dublin before being transported to the hotel in Belfast.

The 42-year old mother-of-three, of no fixed abode, wept as Judge Paul Ramsey imposed a three-year sentence, which he divided equally between prison and licence, at Belfast Crown Court.

Due to time already served in custody, Cibils is due to be released from custody imminently – and this prompted Judge Ramsey to issue a deportation order when she is released.

Prior to imposing the sentence, Judge Ramsey was told by Crown barrister Gareth Purvis that police were called to the Ibis Hotel on Belfast’s Castle Street on the evening of October 9, 2021.

Staff reported there had been an incident involving Cibils – who has been staying at the hotel – and when officers arrived, they noticed damage to her room.

Mr Purvis said the bed had been overturned, the room was “in a state of upheaval” – and when searched, officers located a bag containing 37 plastic wraps in the bathroom

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