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Indian woman may face death penalty in Indonesia

Posted on Jan 23 2014 | IANS

Jakarta, Jan 23 : An Indian woman, who was arrested at Juanda International Airport in Indonesia's second-largest city Surabaya for carrying 1.7 kg of banned drugs in her luggage, may face the death penalty.

The woman, who was arrested Jan 19, was charged with trafficking more than a kilogram of drugs and under the nation's strict drug laws she could face the death penalty, the Jakarta Globe quoted an official as saying Thursday.

Customs officers noticed a suspicious package while X-raying the luggage of the 40-year-old woman, who had arrived in Surabaya on a flight from Hong Kong, and brought a sniffer dog for an inspection.

Following the positive indication from the dog, the officers searched the suitcase and discovered crystal methamphetamine hidden in the luggage.

"When (the suitcase was) taken apart, the official found traces of crystal meth on the suitcase's lining," Iwan Hermawan, head of Juanda customs office said.

Officers estimated that the drugs were worth at Rs.2.3 billion on the black market.

The woman, an English teacher and identified only by the initials of her name MR, however, claimed that the banned substance was not hers and it belonged to her neighbour in Hong Kong, a Nigerian man, who asked her to transport it to Surabaya and give it to another man.

This is the first drug bust of the year at Juanda airport.

In 2013, there were 12 cases of attempted drug smuggling at the airport.

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