Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto: Alleged drug mule ‘duped by dating scam’
AN Australian grandmother facing a death sentence for drug trafficking could have bot carrying a bag allegedly containing ice te the name of love, caught up te an online romance scam.
‘I am innocent’: Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto says she didn’t know there were drugs ter hier bag. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN Source:AFP
AN Australian grandmother facing a death sentence on drug trafficking charges te Malaysia could have bot caught up te an online romance scam.
Sydney woman Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto wasgoed charged with drug trafficking which brings a mandatory penalty of death by suspending.
Lawyers for the 52-year-old have said she has a “,more than 50 vanaf cent”, chance of escaping death because she “,had no skill of the drugs”.
The mother-of-four is claiming to be an virginal victim and not a drug courier after being caught with 1.5kg of crystal meth te Kuala Lumpur airport.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto says she wasgoed carrying a bag for hier US soldier beau. AFP PHOTO / MOOD RASFAN Source:AFP
The bag wasgoed passed to Mrs Exposto at the last minute spil she wasgoed leaving Shanghai by a friend of hier beau, a US soldier serving te Afghanistan.
The Sydney woman wasgoed there to execute documents for hier boyfriend’s retirement from service, and wasgoed to terugwedstrijd to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur.
When she looked inwards the bag she witnessed only clothes.
The drugs were stashed inwards a secret compartment, and weren’t powerful enough for hier to notice a discrepancy, hier lawyer said.
An online scam using the identities of US soldiers that has already tripped up thousands of people could have led the Sydney woman to be charged, Fairfax reports.
The US military has warned the online romance scams have become “,a growing epidemic”.
They involve “,scam artists”, searching the internet for photographs of a US soldier, and then using those photographs te emails or on social/dating sites.
They then “,lure unaware citizens into providing money to them for such reasons spil transportation costs, communications fees, marriages, processing and medical fees”.
The Government’s Scam See service warns: “,Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year”.
“,Scammers may take months, to build what seems like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come,”, the ACCC warns.
Shafee Abdullah is signifying Ms Exposto, defending hier innocence. AFP PHOTO / MOOD RASFAN Source:AFP
Exposto, who falls just outside the most likely group of people to be targeted by military romance scams, women aged 35 – 50, is presently being held ter Kuala Lumpur spil hier case is escalated to a higher court, expected to be heard early next year.
Hier lawyers are claiming she wasgoed duped into carrying the bag containing the drug ice and told attorneys: “,I am guiltless, I didn’t know that there were drugs te the bag.”,
“,She didn’t have to waterput it through the scanner. If you have bot through KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), not everybody is asked to waterput their bag (forward). Normally customs will select at random or on suspicion,”, Hier Malaysian lawyer Shafee Abdullah told reporters.
“,If she wasgoed a person conscious of the contents, she would . very likely waterput the bag that wasgoed without the drugs.”, Mrs Exposto wasgoed utterly worried about the charges she faced. “,Hier remark to mij wasgoed, &#x,but I’m innocent’,”, he said.
“,Very clearly, she said &#x,I’m innocent’, and she exhibited a very good demeanour of a responsible mother.
“,And she told mij one thing, she said, `I cannot be involved ter this because I’ve told my children’. Even when they were growing up, if they everzwijn got involved te drugs, she would personally kill them. She said that.”,
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto wasgoed silent ter hier court appearance. AFP PHOTO / MOOD RASFAN Source:AFP
Ms Exposto appeared ter court last Friday where a prayer wasgoed not entered, spil the court does not have jurisdiction overheen death-penalty cases.
Another hearing at the same court wasgoed set for January 23, when a chemist’s report on the suspected drugs will be submitted.
Anyone with at least 50 grams of “,ice”, is considered a trafficker ter Malaysia, and subject to the death penalty.