KOTA KINABALU: A foreign student could face the death penalty after she was caught red-handed for smuggling five kilograms of drugs, believed to be syabu worth RM1.3 million, into the country on Tuesday.
The arrest was made by the State Customs Department enforcement personnel at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) around 8.30am, which according to Sabah Customs deputy director of enforcement and compliance, Hamzah Sundang, was the biggest seizure in the state this year.
The 31-year-old woman from Kenya was arrested at the KKIA after arriving from Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on a Royal Brunei flight on September 13.
“Based on the flight itinerary, the suspect departed from Kenya on September 5 via Ethiopia and Dubai before arriving in Brunei on Monday.
“The suspect’s suspicious act caught the attention of Customs enforcement personnel. Upon inspection they found two of her luggage had been modified to hide four packets of the drugs,” he told a press conference at the Royal Malaysian Customs headquarters here yesterday.
Hamza said the drugs were kept in a modified compartment inside both luggage and wrapped with aluminum foils and plastic bags.
Apart from the five kilograms of drugs, they also confiscated numerous foreign currencies, namely French franc 36,000 (RM22,793), Brunei Dollar 87 (RM210), USD 900 (RM2,735) and Banki Kuuga Kenya 1,800 (RM56).
The suspect is currently being remanded for seven days to facilitate investigation under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for drug trafficking, which carries the mandatory death penalty, if found guilty.
Asked if the case is linked to any international syndicate, Hamza said it was still under investigation but did not deny that the suspect might have been lured and used as a drug mule.
“Based on early investigation, the suspect is a student of higher learning and works part time as a salesgirl in her country,” he said.