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Thai police arrest SA woman for drug smuggling

20 June 2012, 13:40

 Bangkok - A South African woman has been arrested at Bangkok airport attempting to smuggle 2kg of crystal methamphetamine, Thai police said on Wednesday.

Narcotics police, acting on a tip-off, stopped Adelina Ntshebleng Lephutha Ononiwu, 31, at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday after she arrived from the Kenyan capital and was waiting for a flight to Cambodia.

Police found the drugs - also known as "ice" - in three bags hidden in a secret compartment in her luggage, they said. The haul has a street value of $80 000 in Thailand.

"She said she was hired by a Nigerian man to deliver the luggage to Phnom Penh," Colonel Pornchai Charoenwong of the Narcotic Suppression Bureau said.

"He paid her 24 000 baht ($760) and said she will get a further 200 000 baht when the job was completed," he said, adding she started her journey in Benin, West Africa.

Ononiwu was charged with drug trafficking, which carries a death sentence in Thailand, although executions are rarely sanctioned.

Thailand, along with other countries in the region, has seen a marked increase in seizures of methamphetamine as the world opiate trade declines.

A Malaysian woman was arrested on June 6 at the airport with 4.8kg of crystal methamphetamine after she arrived from Benin, one of the largest seizures of the drug from an individual smuggler.



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