US woman jailed for smuggling cocaine in heels

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Canberra, Sep 6 (IANS) A US woman, who was found with cocaine stuffed inside her high heels and other belongings in her luggage, was jailed on Thursday for smuggling drugs into Australia.

Denise Marie Woodrum, 51, was arrested at Sydney Airport last year. She claimed that she was tricked by a fake Internet suitor into smuggling drugs, the BBC reported.

In January, she pleaded guilty to the illegal import but told the court she was a victim of an online romance scam.

A judge found she had willingly participated in the operation.

On Thursday, the New South Wales District Court sentenced Woodrum, from Missouri, to a maximum of seven-and-a-half years in jail.

“I do not accept that she is genuinely contrite for her offending as opposed to being sorry for the situation she now finds herself caught in,” said Judge Penelope Wass, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Her lawyer Rebecca Neil described her client as a deeply religious and socially isolated woman who had been groomed by a man online, the newspaper said.

Woodrum had visited South America before embarking on the trip to Australia with 756 grams of cocaine, the court heard.

She had told authorities that she had no knowledge of the drugs and “it was supposed to be just clothes”.

However, Judge Wass said she was not convinced by Woodrum’s story and said the defendant had shown little remorse for her “reckless actions”.

Woodrum will be eligible for parole after four-and-a-half years.

–IANS

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