'Agitated' man who died on flight had swallowed packs of cocaine, police say

The flight from Lisbon to Dublin was diverted to Cork after the man became distressed.

Story highlights

  • Irish media report the man, a Brazilian, was carrying about $60,000 worth of cocaine
  • The flight was diverted to Cork after the man became agitated, Irish police say

(CNN)A Brazilian man who died suddenly on a flight from Portugal to Ireland -- after becoming agitated and biting a fellow passenger -- had swallowed packages of cocaine, a post-mortem has revealed.

A spokesman for Ireland's national police, An Garda Siochana, confirmed that a pathology report had found that John Kennedy Santos Gurjao, 25, had ingested packages of white powder before he died on the Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin on Sunday.
    One of the packages had burst inside the passenger, making him ill, the pathologist found.
    Authorities were awaiting the results of toxicology tests on the powder the man ingested, but were confident it was cocaine, the spokesman said.
    Irish media, citing the pathologist, reported that Santos Gurjao swallowed about 800 grams (1.8 pounds) of cocaine in 80 wrapped pellets -- with a street value of about 56,000 euros ($64,000).
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    Irish authorities were in touch with Brazilian officials to inform Santos Gurjao's family of his death, the Garda spokesman said.
    He was pronounced dead at Cork airport shortly after arriving there Sunday evening, police said. The flight had been diverted to Cork after Santos Gurjao became distressed.
    A 44-year-old Portuguese woman who was also on board the flight has been released without charge, the Garda spokesman said.
    The woman was arrested in Cork after police found 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) of a white powder in her luggage.
    Police initially believed the substance to be amphetamine, but tests revealed it was a harmless substance.
    Drug traffickers are occasionally known to use decoys carrying benign substances to divert attention from drug mules.