Couple jailed 26 years for role in ‘Deliveroo-style’ chemsex drugs ring
A couple who directed a ‘Deliveroo-style’ chemsex drugs ring as they splashed out on a Surrey mansion and a Lamborghini have been jailed for 26 years.
Suellen Miguez, 36, and her husband Diego Arruda-Reis, 35, fuelled the trade with an elaborate network of moped riders and Whatsapp groups.
The dealers, who blew more than £50,000 on a Harrods shopping spree, rented out Airbnb properties for a few days at a time to store drugs and avoid detection.
But Metropolitan Police officers smashed the operation in the summer of 2018 and seized drugs worth more than £3 million.
They also recovered mobiles used to run a dedicated ‘drugs line’ and evidence of at least £2.4 million in transactions.
Suellen Miguez, 36, and her husband Diego Arruda-Reis, 35, lived lavish lifestyles, buying a Lamborghini and blowing more than £50,000 on a Harrods shopping spree
Miguez and her husband Arruda-Reis rented this flash house in Weybridge, Surrey
Suellen Miguez, 36, masterminded the operation with her husband
Punters were offered a menu of narcotics to choose from, including cocaine, ecstasy and GBL, which is popular in London’s gay chemsex scene.
Moped riders were able to deliver the drugs in sealed packages within 10 minutes of an order being made.
Miguez and Arruda-Reis, who were arrested in 2018 sat at the ‘very top’ of the criminal organisation.
Arruda-Reis recruited others to join the criminal network and frequented the Airbnbs used by the couriers.
He had £853,000 in his bank account at the time of his arrest while Miguez had £945,000 in her account.
The couple led an ‘extravagant lifestyle’, renting a penthouse flat overlooking the Thames in the luxury Riverlight Quay complex in Battersea and a ‘substantial home’ in Weybridge, Surrey.
Miguez splashed over £50,000 on purchases from Prada, Louis Vitton and Harrods while her husband drove a Lamborghini.
She kept a red accounts book with the weight and type of the drugs, used as a ledger to record the stock.
The extent and range of the drugs provided by the network suggested that they had been purchased wholesale and not from a single source, Inner London Crown Court heard.
The gang offered a ‘unique service’ because it brought the drugs directly to the users without relying on low-level street dealers, in a ‘Deliveroo of drugs’ operation.
Jailing Miguez and Arruda-Reis for 13 years each Judge Nigel Seed, QC, said they ran a ‘very sophisticated, business-like enterprise’.
He told Miguez: ‘You have been a hard working person in the past and I am told and I accept that you worked from when you were 18 until you were married.
‘I do not accept all that has been said about your relationship with your husband.
‘He accepted his responsibility for involving you and although there was evidence which suggested he was violent with you and ordered you about you yourself gave no evidence, and I do not accept you were operating under duress.
‘At the very most, he was a domineering husband.
‘You were a willing partner, in my view, in this criminal enterprise. You had a leading role.’
The judge told Arruda-Reis: ‘You were a person of good character and brought shame upon yourself as well as your family.
‘I have taken into account all that has been said about you, by both your counsel and those testimonials that said you have led a good life whilst you were in prison.
‘I accept you have shown genuine remorse.
‘You said in your letter that you can’t change the past, and of course you can’t, but the courts have a duty to send out a signal as well as take into account the personal circumstances of any particular defendant.
‘People can’t be seen to be getting away lightly with dealing with such large quantities of drugs.
‘I am satisfied you set up and run this criminal enterprise that is the subject of this conspiracy I tried over three trials.’
Minka Braun, defending Miguez, said she was under the ‘influence’ of her husband who was the one who ran the operation.
‘It was explained by numerous of the defendants who gave evidence that Mr Reis liked to have his wife there,’ said Ms Braun.
‘I am not suggesting she was reluctant, but her role was not that of her husband and to suggest that it was, in my submission, is plain wrong.
Ms Braun said that Miguez’s role was ‘in the background’ and was in no way ‘the boss’ but ‘the boss’ wife’.
Miguez was arrested and found with 53 individually wrapped bags of heroin in her handbag
When things unraveled, she lacked the wherewithal and resources to find herself in a safe place unlike her husband who fled the country.
The court heard that Miguez had been consistently in work since moving to the UK at age 18.
In prison, she volunteered in various programs to support vulnerable prisoners including the Samaritans, said her barrister.
‘They have described how kind and caring she has been throughout her time in this post,’ said Mr Braun.
‘She was a naive, quick to love young woman who made some bad choices and I urge your honour to provide some light at the end of the tunnel.’
David Nathan, QC, for Arruda-Reis, said while his client was ‘a central figure’, he wasn’t at the very top of the operation.
‘He was recruited to do what he did, he was recruited by people who had similar operations.
‘He was part of a number of conspiracies in which he was not the man organising.
‘He was recruited to do his part, to run this particular cell of this particular conspiracy,’ said Mr Nathan.
‘Mr Reis played an everyday role, a hands on role with what was going on, and I would respectfully suggest that the purpose of setting up a sophisticated system involving the supply and distribution of drugs, ordinarily the man involved stay in the background.
‘He took a hands-on role because he was not the principle organiser.’
‘He accepts full responsibility for Suellen’s involvement, he accepts she wouldn’t have been involved had it not been under his vision and instruction..’
He said Arruda-Reis came from a ‘decent, well educated’ family from Brazil.
‘He became traitorous to his wife who, underneath it all, he loves.
‘He took upon himself the trappings that the kind of lifestyle that this sort of drugs conspiracy makes possible. For the duration of that conspiracy, in many aspects, and although there were pressures to leave the organisation, he benefited hugely from it.
‘He lived the dream, the Lamborghini, the houses, all these things.’
In 2019 a jury had variously convicted Miguez and three others, including Isabella Braga Da Silva, 23, of a total of 14 drug offences and seven money laundering charges.
Arruda-Reis had admitted 14 drug supply offences in April 2019.
Braga Da Silva and her boyfriend Bernardo Salles, 27, had described themselves as a ‘great duo’ in WhatsApp messages and made references to the Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Braga Da Silva and her boyfriend Bernardo Salles, 27, had described themselves as a ‘great duo’ in WhatsApp messages and made references to the Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar
Earlier Peter Finnigan, QC, prosecuting, said the case concerned a ‘sophisticated network of Brazilian nationals who were involved, until their arrests in the summer of 2018, in the highly lucrative business of providing drugs to order to the chemsex scene.
‘It was nothing less than a high-tech drugs delivery service operating here in London. Customers would place their orders on a dedicated drugs line number.
‘Once the order had been placed, they could expect rapid delivery by a moped or motorbike courier who would exchange a seemingly innocent package, often disguised as a DHL or TNT delivery.
‘The drugs seized have been valued at over £3 million if sold at street level.’
The dealers all had different roles within the organisation, with Miguez leading while others organised drivers or hired places to store and package the drugs.
Mr Finnigan said a key part of the operation was the use of Airbnb and self-storage facilities across the capital where the drugs would be stored and packaged.
‘The trail of money in this case firmly supports the fact that Souellen Miguez was at the top of this conspiracy.
‘Over £50,000 was paid out in luxury spending at shops including Prada, Louis Vuitton and Harrods.’
Da Silva worked in an office matching couriers to customers across London and cell site data placed her with other members of the group.
Mr Finnigan said she became involved through Salles and they saw themselves as a modern Bonnie and Clyde.
‘The pair discussed the history of Bonnie and Clyde and how they were caught before Miss Braga Da Silva concludes with a message stating ‘but that we will be a great duo, there’s no doubt.’
‘Miss Braga Da Silva sends him a message saying: ‘I’ll be a great wife, mother, girlfriend, secretary lol’.
‘There is then a reference to being paid £3,000, Salles states ‘I’m not the boss yet’ before Miss Braga Da Silva responds with ‘Pablo scobarrr’ thought to be a reference to Pablo Escobar.’
Carlos Libardi Da Silva, described as ‘a trusted lieutenant’ to Miguez, helped launder the money and organised the couriers along with Salles.
When Miguez was arrested on 30 July 2018 police found 53 individually wrapped bags of heroin in her handbag.
Detectives seized drugs including MDMA, methamphetamines, LSD, cocaine, ketamine, GBL and cannabis from self storage lockers in King’s Cross, Hoxton, Southwark and Battersea.
They also recovered fake identity documents and £40,000 cash at a Novotel hotel room in Docklands.
Miguez, of Alexandra Drive, Upper Norwood, Libardi Da Silva, of Durdham Court, Bristol, and Braga Da Silva, of Trelawn Road, Brixton, denied but were convicted of five counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class A, six counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B, and three counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class C.
Arruda-Reis, of Riverlight Quay, Nine Elms, admitted six counts of conspiracy to possess class A drugs, eight counts of conspiring to supply class A drugs and one count of possession of criminal property.
Salles, of Mercier Court, Royal Wharf, Docklands, east London, admitted seven counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class B, and two counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class C.
Miguez further denied and was convicted of one count of removing criminal property and one count of acquiring criminal property.
Libardi Da Silva and Salles each denied and were convicted of one count of acquiring criminal property.
Salles, Braga da Silva and Libardi Da Silva are due to be sentenced tomorrow.
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