x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Woman claims she was tricked to smuggle

A Thai woman charged with smuggling four kilograms of cocaine into the country from Brazil pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

DUBAI // A Thai woman charged with smuggling four kilograms of cocaine into the country from Brazil pleaded not guilty on Thursday before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, claiming she did not know drugs were hidden in secret compartments in her suitcase. The defendant, TT, 31, was arrested at Dubai International Airport on Dec 21 after arriving on a flight from Brazil. She was waiting for a connecting flight to Bangkok when she was arrested.

A customs inspector at the transit lounge said he became suspicious when the defendant could not say how much she had paid for her plane ticket. She also appeared flustered and nervous, he said, so he ordered an inspection of her luggage. The woman led customs inspectors to her suitcase, which they opened in front of her. The inspectors found black nylon bags containing a white powdery substance, later identified as cocaine, hidden at the bottom of the suitcase inside the seam. Asked about the substance, the defendant denied any knowledge of it.

TT said she was paid US$2,500 (Dh9,200) by a man in Thailand who also paid her air fare. The man asked her to go to Brazil to pick up some items and bring them back to him in Thailand, she said. hbathish@thenational.ae