Brit expat couple who lived in Alicante sentenced for eight years for smuggling cocaine from Caribbean on luxury cruise

ROGER CLARKE, 72, and Sue Clarke, 71, a married couple from the southern English county of Kent, were arrested in December of last year after Portuguese authorities found cocaine in their suitcases while their cruise ship MC Marco Polo was docked in Lisbon.

The arrests came after a tip-off from British authorities.

The couple protested their innocence last Tuesday as they went on trial after nine months in separate remand prisons in the Portuguese capital insisting they had no idea the cases had drugs inside. That they were taking them back to the UK for a friend called Lee who had promised to pay them £800 for helping with his ‘exotic fruit’ business.

Their innocence has crumbled in the light of justice and Clarke’s whispered comment to his wife on hearing the 8 year sentence “Jesus Christ! I wasn’t expecting more than four” seems to suggest that the Clarkes had full knowledge of what was inside the cases and had even calculated their own sentences.

The couple’s previous history with the law hasn’t aided in their favour either. Both had previously been convicted of a similar crime in Norway.

Mr Clarke confirmed in court they had both served prison sentences in Norway after being convicted in 2010 for trafficking 240 kilos of cannabis resin, claiming he had done a first drugs run to clear debts and was made to do more with his wife as cover after being threatened with violence by gangster paymasters if he stopped.

Roger, who was born Roger Button changed his surname to Clarke after completing the Norwegian sentence.

The expat couple lied to friends in Guardamar del Segura near Alicante where they lived and were the ‘life and soul of local bars’ and members of a golf club, by telling they had served time in prison for cigarette smuggling.

Lead judge Margarida Alves told the couple: “We are totally convinced you knew the contents of these four cases. You did what you did not because you are drug consumers but because you wanted to make an easy profit.”

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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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