UK drug mule gets 14yrs in Indonesia

2014-01-22 13:39
Andrea Waldeck at her court hearing. (Juni Kriswanto, AFP)

Andrea Waldeck at her court hearing. (Juni Kriswanto, AFP)

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Surabaya - A British woman was jailed for 14 years on Wednesday but escaped the death penalty after admitting that she smuggled crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia from China.

Andrea Waldeck had confessed to taking the drugs through the airport in Surabaya, in the east of Indonesia's main Java island, hidden in her underwear but claimed she was coerced into carrying them.

After being found guilty and sentenced at a Surabaya court, the former police worker hung her head as she was led down to the cells.

The sentence was lower than prosecutors' recommendation of 16 years for the 43-year-old, who had smuggled 1.5kg of crystal meth into Indonesia.

She could have received the death sentence for smuggling that quantity of drugs under Indonesian anti-narcotics laws, which are some of the toughest in the world.

"Andrea Waldeck has been proven legally and convincingly guilty of offering to sell or become a middle person to sell drugs", said presiding judge Faturrachman, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

He handed Waldeck a 14-year sentence and ordered her to pay a $167 000 fine.

In her underwear

But he said the sentence was lighter than the recommendation as Waldeck had "honestly admitted her mistake, which helped the trial proceed smoothly".

After the verdict Waldeck said she was still considering whether to appeal.

Wearing a white shirt, black trousers and red waistcoat of the type worn by prisoners in Indonesia, she looked nervous at Wednesday's hearing, biting her bottom lip as she listened to a translation of proceedings.

Waldeck admitted at a previous hearing that she had smuggled the drugs into Indonesia from China.

She was arrested in April at a hotel in Surabaya after she managed to sneak through airport security in the city with the drugs hidden in four plastic bags in her underwear, according to her indictment.

Two members of a drugs gang had been en route to the hotel to pick up the narcotics, but police knew about the plan and managed to get there first and arrest Waldeck, it said.

She claimed that her boyfriend in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou had asked her to traffic the drugs in exchange for $5 000, according to her indictment.

She had previously worked in southwestern England as a police community support officer, a part-time member of the police with limited powers.

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