A Brazilian kingpin and her gang are facing jail today after being caught with the largest shipment of chemsex drugs ever seized in the UK.
Suellen Miguez, 35, and her associates have fueled the underground chemsex trade through an extensive network of moped riders and WhatsApp groups.
Miguez was convicted along with Isabella Braga Da Silva, 22, and her boyfriend Bernardo Salles, 27, who called herself a ‘modern Bonnie and Clyde’.
The prosperous dealers blew tens of thousands of pounds on designer merchandise, with over £ 50,000 spent in stores such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Harrods.
They also rented out properties through Airbnb to store drugs for a few days at a time to avoid detection.
Customers were offered a ‘narcotics menu’ to choose from, including cocaine, ecstasy and the chemsex drug GBL, with riders disguised as DHL deliverers delivering them within 10 minutes of placing an order.
Police quashed the operation when they stopped one of the moped deliverers on a routine matter.
Suellen Miguez, 35, was arrested and found with 53 individually wrapped heroin bags in her handbag
Drug gang convicted of a series of crimes
Suellen Miguez, of Upper Norwood, Libardi Da Silva, of Bristol, and Braga Da Silva, of Brixton, denied but were convicted of five charges of conspiracy to supply a controlled class A drug, six conspiracies to establish a controlled Class B drug and three conspiracies to deliver a Class C controlled drug.
Salles, of Docklands, East London, admitted seven conspiracies to deliver a Class B controlled drug, and two counts of conspiracy to deliver a Class C controlled drug.
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 both denied and were convicted of one count of acquiring criminal property.
Andre Alvez, of Streatham, South London and Thanaira, with no fixed address, both refused and was cleared of five conspiracies to supply Class A drugs, six counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, and three counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. C Drugs to be delivered.
Andre was also acquitted of three money laundering charges.
The jury had failed to pass judgment on two other alleged members of the stake – Andre Alves, 22, and sister Thainara Alves, 25.
But Alves’ siblings were cleared today of a string of charges for drug supply following a retrial at Inner London Crown Court.
Met agents later seized drugs worth more than £ 3 million, recovered cell phones used to run a dedicated ‘drug line’ and evidence of at least £ 2.4 million in transactions.
Last year, an Inner London Crown Court jury convicted Miguez and three others, including Isabella Braga Da Silva, 22, of a total of 14 drug offenses and seven charges of money laundering.
Braga Da Silva and her boyfriend Bernardo Salles, 27, describe themselves as a ‘great duo’ in WhatsApp messages and made references to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
When Miguez was arrested on July 30, 2018, police found 53 individually wrapped bags of heroin in her handbag in 2018.
Detectives seized drugs including MDMA, methamphetamine, LSD, cocaine, ketamine, GBL and cannabis from self-storage lockers in King’s Cross, Hoxton, Southwark and Battersea.
They also recovered false identity documents and £ 40,000 cash in a Novotel hotel room in Docklands.
Peter Finnigan, QC, prosecution, said a 10-page employee handbook, including a code of conduct with performance-related pay incentives, has been seized. According to the manual, it was crucial that each delivery takes ‘only 10 minutes’.
The manual added: ‘The company’s goal is to be number one. We count on your professionalism to achieve that and always grow in income, thus increasing your salary and bonuses. ‘
Judge Nigel Seed, QC, is sentencing Miguez, Braga Da Silva, Salles and Carlos Libardi Da Silva, 35, on a date to be determined.
Earlier, Mr Finnigan told jurors: ‘It was nothing short of a high-tech drug delivery service operating here in London. Customers would place their orders on a special drug line number.
“After the order was placed, they could expect a fast delivery from a moped or motorcycle courier who would exchange a seemingly harmless package, often disguised as a DHL or TNT delivery.”
Jurors heard that the dealers all had different roles, with Miguez as the leader, while others organized drivers or rented places to store and package the drugs.
Mr Finnigan said an important part of the operation was the use of Airbnb and self-storage facilities in the capital where the drugs would be stored and packaged.
He said: ‘The trail of money in this case fully supports the fact that Souellen Miguez was at the top of this conspiracy.
“As you would expect from someone who played a lead role in the conspiracy, she got more money than her co-defendants.”
Isabella Braga Da Silva (left) and her boyfriend Bernardo Salles, 27, (right) who called themselves a ‘modern Bonnie and Clyde’
Da Silva worked in an office matching couriers with customers across London, and the data from the mobile site placed her with other members of the group.
Mr Finnigan said she got involved through Salles and they saw themselves as a ‘modern day Bonnie and Clyde’.
He added, ‘Miss Braga Da Silva sends him a message saying’ I’ll be a great wife, mom, girlfriend, secretary lol ‘.
There is then a reference to receiving £ 3,000, Salles says, ‘I’m not in charge yet’ before Miss Braga Da Silva replies with ‘Pablo scobarrr’ which is believed to be a reference to Pablo Escobar. ‘
Carlos Libardi Da Silva, described as ‘a trusted lieutenant’ to Miguez, helped launder the money and organized the couriers along with Salles.
The key to their success was the use of technology coupled with careful planning and attention to detail.
The police investigating their activities were lucky when one of their moped deliverers was arrested for a routine matter.
‘Drugs were discovered, but above all: his phone was confiscated. Police discovered a number of WhatsApp groups dealing with the way the drugs were distributed and accounted for. ‘
The delivery drivers were also told to be polite and ‘behave in an appropriate attitude’.
The manual also claimed that the drug ring had the “help of ex-police officers and a lawyer who will inform us and help us build security structures that work.”
A sentencing date has yet to be set.