It’s never too late to start on a life of crime, it would seem. Two British pensioners living in Spain were arrested last December in Lisbon, Portugal, after they were caught with 9 kilograms (19.8 pounds) of cocaine in their luggage on a transatlantic cruise ship.
They were formally charged with drug smuggling the other day, the Daily Mail reports. Portuguese police have not been able to identify the person or persons who handed the drugs over to Roger and Sue Clarke, 72 and 71, and have shelved this part of the investigation.
The street value of this amount of cocaine is believed to be anywhere between £1 million and £2 million. The drugs were hidden in 4 designer suitcases with false bottoms, about which Roger bragged to have bought off a Caribbean island for cheap. He said he intended to sell them at their market price once they arrived in London.
The Lisbon stop was second to last before London. Police acted on a tip and went on board the MC Marco Polo with a warrant. The couple didn’t lie about the drugs and made no effort to proclaim their innocence, police said at the time – but neither did they talk to cooperate with the police.
Prosecutors have decided to go after the Clarkes for smuggling based on their priors and after determining that this was the whole purpose of the 33-day cruise. The Clarkes served time in Norway for marijuana smuggling after a 2004 arrest: “it later emerged they had been on at least 16 drug-smuggling trips to Norway in an old Nissan car, importing cannabis worth £1million over 15 months,” the Mail says.
“The suspects acted together with the specific purpose of receiving and carrying with them the cocaine and the objective of handing it over to a third party in exchange for money,” prosecutors say in the indictment obtained by the publication. “They were aware of its characteristics, nature and quantity. The suspects, acting freely, voluntarily and consciously, joined forces and combined efforts knowing that the transport and commercialization of cocaine is prohibited and punishable by law.”
The same indictment notes that they will remain behind bars until the trial.