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Monday, 28 May 2012

Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old British woman, has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking cocaine worth around £1.6m into Bali

Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old British woman, has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking cocaine worth around £1.6m into Bali, where the death penalty still exists for this type of crime. 

Lnidsay SandifordLindsay Sandiford shielded her face from reporters at the press conference in Indonesia (Picture: EPA)

Ms Sandiford was detained on May 19 after she was found to have the 4.7kg haul in a suitcase as she arrived in the Balinese capital Denpasar on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok. 

Four other people - three Britons and an Indian national, who are thought to have been the intended recipients of the drugs - are also being questioned.

Ms Sandiford - who told authorities in Indonesia she was a housewife - could face death by firing squad if convicted. 

She was pictured yesterday at a press conference in the Indonesian holiday town of Kuta, wearing an orange inmate's T-shirt, surrounded by brown packages which were cut open by a customs official.

Lindsay SandifordMs Sandiford could face the death penalty if convicted (Picture: AP)

Indonesian customs officer Made Wijaya said the drugs were found in the lining of Ms Sandiford's case after a routine X-ray screening at the airport.

'We are working hard to stop thest type of international smugglers bringing their drugs into Bali and harming our people,' Wijaya said.

'If this woman, and anyone else who is subsequently charged, is found guilty, the punishment will be the death penalty.' 

Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world, with traffickers put to death in the past and others facing life imprisonment.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cocaine found in South Carolina man's rental car after stop

South Carolina man was stopped Wednesday night after a traffic violation by Cowley County Sheriff's Office deputies, who later found cocaine in his rental car, according to a sheriff's office report issued Friday. Vascarvi Earnest Sloan, 20, of Greenville, S.C., was arrested for driving with a suspended South Carolina driver's license, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of drug-sale paraphernalia and possession of alcohol by a minor. Undersheriff Bill Mueller said Sloan was stopped prior to 7:28 p.m. Wednesday for speeding in his rental car in the 33000 block of U.S. 77. "The rental company wanted the car impounded," Mueller said, "so that's when they discovered drugs in there. That led to the drug arrest." Sloan remained in the Cowley County Jail on Friday in lieu of an $11,800 bond, according to a jail official.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Indonesia cuts Australian Schapelle Corby's jail term

Indonesia has reduced the 20-year jail term of convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby by five years following a clemency plea. The president approved the move and officials had notified Kerobokan prison in Bali where Corby is being held, Indonesia's justice ministry confirmed. Corby, 34, was convicted for drug smuggling in 2005 after 4.1kg (9lb) of marijuana was found in her bag at Denpasar airport in Bali in 2004. Australia welcomed the cut in sentence. "The Australian government has consistently supported Ms Corby's application for clemency on humanitarian grounds," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement. Corby, a former beauty student who insists she is innocent, filed an appeal to have her sentence reduced with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono two years ago, citing humanitarian grounds. Her lawyer, Iskandar Nawing, said that Corby's mental health had deteriorated while in jail. Kerobokan prison was built to hold 300 prisoners but currently houses about 1,000. Aside from Corby, it holds a number of foreign nationals, including members of an Australian drug smuggling ring called the "Bali Nine". Indonesia's Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin said Corby's conviction was "not related to heroin or other heavy drugs". "It was purely marijuana and the marijuana didn't weigh hundreds of kilograms," he told Reuters news agency.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pair of Mexican nationals sought in 11 Thurston heroin cases flee

Two alleged runners for a Mexican drug-trafficking organization are thought to have fled Thurston County after allegedly delivering more than 3 ounces of heroin during controlled buys. Alfredo Santos Bautista, 29, formerly of Littlerock Road in Tumwater, was charged Thursday in Superior Court with eight counts of unlawful delivery of heroin. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. The Olympian is not naming his alleged accomplice because she hasn’t been charged. “Both defendants became aware of the investigation and fled their residences for parts unknown,” court papers state. “In addition, both defendants are apparently illegally in the country and are Mexican nationals.” Also according to court papers: The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force’s investigation began in February, after a confidential source in Mason County told detectives that he or she “was able to buy heroin from a Mexican drug trafficking organization.” In March, task force detectives seized a cellphone in Lakewood used by a “dispatcher” for the organization. Detectives used the phone to arrange drug buys in Thurston County, leading to at least five arrests of people who tried to buy heroin. Beginning in February, narcotics detectives arranged controlled buys using the confidential source, who wore a body wire to buy heroin from Bautista and his accomplice. The buys occurred on Olympia’s west side, in parking lots at Red Robin, Goodwill, Petco and Walgreens. Detectives identified Bautista by taking his photograph during the controlled buys and identified his residence by conducting surveillance and obtaining his driver’s license photo from the Department of Licensing. Detectives conducted 11 controlled buys involving Bautista and his accomplice. Law enforcement officials have said that heroin use, as well as property crimes associated with it, have been in the rise in Thurston County over the past six months.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

US blacklists sons of Mexico drug lord Joaquin Guzman

The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.

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