Thai woman escapes death in Vietnam, gets life in jail for heroin smuggling

By Hai Duyen   March 16, 2017 | 06:49 pm PT
The drug mule escaped the death sentence only because she has a young child.

A Thai woman convicted of heroin smuggling was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday at a court in southern Vietnam.

She escaped the death penalty only because she has a three-year-old child.


Pantimoong Narisara at a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen

Pantimoong Narisara, 28, was arrested in late July 2014 at Tan Son Nhat International Airport as customs officers found 3.97 kilograms (8.7 lb) of heroin in her luggage. She had arrived from Brazil via Qatar’s Doha Airport.

Narisara told the court that she knew an African man named David who had sent her to Japan to work for a jewelry company before asking her to go to Brazil.

She said she had stayed in Brazil for two weeks before she was asked to come back to Thailand. A man who introduced himself as David’s friend gave her two suitcases before she left. She said she had checked both of them prior to departure and found they were empty.

But customs officers found the drugs were sealed in several layers of plastic bags and hidden carefully in two of her backpacks placed in the suitcases.

Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or cocaine face the death penalty by lethal injection.

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