Cartel wanted to ‘skin’ Brit who snorted cocaine off Pablo Escobar’s grave

A Brit who snorted cocaince off Pablo Escobar's grave for a £200 bet "for a laugh" saw his fortunes quickly fade after attracting the ire of a vicious drug cartel.

Steven Semmens recently found himself thrown in jail for 13 years for being part of a huge drugs ring, but what led him there is a wild sequence of events that saw him lucky to leave South America alive.

The 39-year-old's own lawyer said in court that his client was 'naïve' and as a 'fantasist' inhabiting a Walter Mitty world of a 'lifestyle he sometimes thinks he has', admitting that he didn't profit much from the drug business.

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According to South Wales Police, Semmens and his gang were arrested after it was uncovered they were involved in trafficking and importing multiple kilograms of class A and B drugs across the UK.

Semmens was tasked with finding large amounts of cocaine in Colombia.

The gang was led by Shane White, who wanted to sell drugs on the streets of South Wales.

A spokesman for the police explained: “He would send videos back to White in the UK of cocaine, sometimes in excess of more than 50 kgs at a time.

“These videos went on to be used to advertise the cocaine for sale in the UK."

But it was a different video that caught the most attention, after Semmens decided to snort cocaine off infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar's headstone in Itagui, Colombia.

The drunken bet, in 2018, saw a pal offer Semmens £200 to do the deed during a Facebook Live broadcast.

In his own words, Semmens said: "I was drinking with a friend and they said: 'Do you want to go and see the grave?'

"And then my friend said: 'Sniff cocaine off it' and bet me £200 I wouldn't do it on Facebook Live."

In the clip he is seen rolling up a note and sniffing a white substance. The video went viral and caught the attention of police and cartels alike.

His lawyer said Escobar’s 'criminal confederates' saw the footage, and they were ‘not pleased’.

At the time Semmens said: "I just thought it would be a laugh, I didn't think it would go this far.

"I was drunk at the time. I've been bombarded with threats that I'm going to get skinned alive."

Semmens went into hiding in Colombia, even shaving his head to avoid detection. However, he was found by local police and extradited to the UK.

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It was found that White, Semmens and the rest of the crew had conspired together to import 10kg of cocaine into the UK, and supplied a further 8kg in the South Wales area which they had sourced within the UK.

White, 34, Andrew Botto, also 34, and Ieuan Emlyn Williams, 37, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Combined, the 18kg of cocaine would have had a UK street value estimated to be between £2m and £2.5m.

Now, for his part in a drugs conspiracy, Semmens will spend 13 years and six months in prison at Swansea Crown Court.

White was caged for 15 years and four months, Botto for nine years and seven months, and Williams for six years.

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