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Thirty-year sentence in massive coke bust

Thirty-year sentence in massive coke bust

4 drug sentence
Thai national Rodsiri Rungeiwa (left) is escorted after receiving a 30-year jail sentence for drug trafficking yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Thai national Rodsiri Rungeiwa (left) is escorted after receiving a 30-year jail sentence for drug trafficking yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

A Thai woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of trafficking roughly 13 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Cambodia last year.

The 25-year-old Rodsiri Rungeiwa was also fined 90 million riel ($22,500), said presiding judge Sin Visal.

“She brought illegal drugs from Brazil to Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport to transfer them to Thailand. She was arrested by Cambodian police when she was preparing to leave from the airport,” said Visal.

“If the accused person does not agree with the ruling, then can appeal by law,” he added.

Rodsiri was apprehended on August 13, 2012, at the Phnom Penh International Airport and found with some 13 kilograms of cocaine in her suitcase.

At her hearing last month, Rodsiri said she was an unknowing dupe and that she had been paid $3,000 by a stranger to transport the bag.

“The seized drugs belong to an American,” she said, according to a police report read at court yesterday. “He promised to pay a commission of $3,000 for bringing them from Brazil to Thailand. I didn’t know they are drugs. If I had known, I would have not done it.”

Rodsiri’s lawyer, Ou Helene, said she was unsure whether her client would appeal.

“In the past, I used to ask her [whether to appeal], she said if the court sentenced her between 10 and 20 years in jail, she would accept it,” said Helene.

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