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Woman drugs smuggler faces 16 years in Indonesian jail

Dec. 18, 2013 at 6:01 AM   |   Comments

JAKARTA, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Indonesia are demanding a 16-year prison sentence for a British woman for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into the country.

Andrea Ruth Waldeck sat patiently as prosecutors read their sentence demand at the Surabaya District Court in Surabaya, East Java province, the Antara news agency reported.

Prosecutors also want Waldeck, 43, to be fined the equivalent of about $167,000.

The former Gloucestershire county police community support officer has admitted guilt to the drug-smuggling charge.

She was arrested in late April after authorities found about 3.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in her underwear at her hotel room in Surabaya, the capital of East Java.

The Jakarta Post newspaper reported in October that Waldeck maintains her boyfriend, who lives in China, asked her to take the drugs from Guangzhou, China, to Indonesia and give them to a man called Ari Wahyudi.

Police have said they are still looking for Wahyudi.

Waldeck is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 6 when her defense counsel will make its final plea.

Indonesia has strict drug trafficking laws and dozens of foreign nationals await sentencing or are languishing in the country's jails.

In May, a court in Bali sentenced a German man to five years in jail for possessing in his stomach more than half a pound of hashish worth $3 million.

Martin Robert Moller, 42, also must pay a fine of around $100,000 or face an additional three months in prison, the newspaper Bali Daily said at the time of his sentencing.

Many of those suspected or convicted of drug offenses are woman.

Waldeck's trial started in September, a month after the Indonesia Supreme Court upheld a death sentence for Lindsay Sandiford, another British woman convicted of smuggling just over 8 pounds of cocaine into the resort island of Bali.

Sandiford, 57 and a grandmother, was arrested in May 2012 after a check of her luggage found cocaine valued at around $1.6 million.

She had arrived on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, and was accused by police of being at the center of a smuggling operation involving three other Britons.

One of the more high-profile cases is that of Australian convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. A decision on her possible parole has been postponed indefinitely because of a recent rift in diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Australia over a spying scandal.

Corby was 27 when she was caught, allegedly attempting to smuggle about 9 pounds of marijuana into Indonesia's resort town of Bali in October 2004. Since being sentenced in May 2005 to 20 years in jail, she has been held in Indonesia's Kerobokan Prison on the island of Bali.

The new governor of the jail, after briefly meeting Corby, a former beauty therapist, during a ceremony welcoming him to the prison last month, called her "beautiful, attractive and polite," news.co.au reported.

Following reductions of her sentence for good behavior, it was expected Corby could be released on parole before Christmas. She would have to live with her sister, Mercedes, and Mercedes' husband and children in their Balinese home until 2017.

But diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Australia have since imploded after the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and The Guardian-Australia reported that leaked material indicated Australia tried to spy on the Indonesian president.

Spy allegations include the wiretapping of the cellphones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and members of his inner circle, the Australian broadcaster reported.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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