The 54-year-old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, who previously said that she was tricked into smuggling drugs into Malaysia, was cleared of charges on Wednesday. After traveling to China to see a man she met online, who claimed to be a US serviceman, she returned with a backpack he asked her to take to Melbourne, which all of a sudden was filled with 2.4 pounds of crystal meth. On her way home, Exposto was caught in Kuala Lumpur and accused of drug trafficking.
Malaysia, being a Muslim-majority country, has strict laws on trafficking: carrying at least 1.75 ounces of “ice” is punishable by death. According to Exposto, she did not know about the drugs hidden in her bag and fortunately, the judge accepted her attorney’s argument and found her not guilty. The judge said that the woman would be deported from Malaysia.
Last year Malaysian lawmakers voted in a bid to amend legislation so that the death penalty – by hanging – would no longer be mandatory in drug smuggling cases. The changes have not come into force yet.