Saturday, February 25, 2006

Grandmothers, Kiwi Gnomes, and Cocaine

On the lighter side of international law, a 52-year-old South African grandmother was arrested and charged with drug smuggling in New Zealand after Nigerians stuffed her suitcases with ceramic gnomes filled with cocaine. As reported here:
Crown prosecutor Bruce Northwood said the Crown did not deny it was a sad story but the woman must have known what she had got herself into.... [T]he woman claims her family were being threatened by a Nigerian drug lord called Peter, who wanted her daughter Lindy to work for him. She made a complaint to South African police, scared something would happen to her family. Her daughter was stopped in London in early 2004 "body packed" - carrying drugs. It was then that Martin embarked on a journey to find the man she believed was responsible for her daughter's situation. Mr Northwood said she was dealing with drug-runners in trying to find out what happened to her daughter. Martin said in statements that she wanted to find Peter and the Nigerians had told her that if she stuck with them they would help her find him. "I just want to look him in the face and ask him if it was his child how he would have felt," she said. Mr Northwood said the Nigerians might have been playing on her situation to get what they wanted but she must have known what was in her suitcase when she flew from South America to New Zealand bound for Brisbane. Mr Northwood said she was given false passports, stayed at a hotel where she saw women swallowing things and saying they were "testing their tummies". Her suitcase was changed by Nigerians and it became much heavier. The woman said the only thing the Nigerians had told her was there was something in the suitcase and she was expected to find it when she got to New Zealand. It was part of her "training". "There is a clear probability that she knew this was a drug-running outfit and what she was getting into," Mr Northwood said. "The accused is no fool. She knew the world she was stepping into for whatever reason."
I guess the book about grandmothers is correct. Grandmothers really are like snowflakes. No two are alike.

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