Men guilty of smuggling drugs on warship

Two men were found guilty today of involvement in a drug smuggling operation in which a Royal Navy wren smuggled £2 million of cocaine onboard a warship to bring back to the UK.

Teresa Matos picked up 8.51kg (18.7lb) of cocaine while HMS Manchester had docked at the port of Cartagena in Colombia, South America, last July, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

The drugs were discovered hidden in the lining of Matos' clothes insider her locker when the Type 42 destroyer arrived in Plymouth, Devon, in August, en route to its home port of Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Raul Beia, 39, Matos' boyfriend, and Dean Langley, 20, were found guilty by a jury of illegally importing drugs.

The trial heard that Matos, 36, an Angolan-born steward from Contsworth Court, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to smuggling at a previous hearing.

She will be sentenced on Friday alongside Beia, Langley and another member of the smuggling gang, Abdul Banda, 34, who also admitted his part in the conspiracy.

Judge Ian Pearson remanded Beia and Langley in custody until Friday's hearing.

Matos was arrested in Plymouth while Banda, of Ashbourne Road, Ealing, London, was arrested with Beia, of Clapham, London, and Langley, of Clem Attlee Estate, Fulham, London, at Portsmouth's Ibis Hotel.

The court heard that Beia and Banda were the "controlling minds" behind the operation while Matos was a courier and Langley was recruited to receive and distribute the drugs.