Malaysian flight stewardess jailed in Australia for smuggling heroin
PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A Malaysian flight attendant caught smuggling heroin worth millions in her undergarments last year has been put behind bars in Australia.
The Australian County Court on Thursday (Oct 8) sentenced Zailee Zainal to nine years and six months in jail.
The 40-year-old mother of three will be eligible for parole after serving three years.
According to Australian media, County Court Judge Michael Cahill said Zailee deserved to be shown some leniency, as she was in desperate need of funds to foot her daughter’s mounting medical bills.
The Australian Border Force nabbed Zailee in 2019, after heroin was found hidden in her bra and underwear.
The court heard that she was offered A$6,500 (S$6,330) to smuggle heroin with a street value of about A$3 million into Australia.
Judge Cahill said Zailee was desperate to raise money to pay for her daughter’s operations.
“There is a place for the exercise of mercy in sentencing. You felt that you had no other option other than to commit a crime,” the judge was quoted as saying.
Zailee was “profoundly remorseful” and had written a letter of apology, he noted.
“You are very unlikely to reoffend,” ABC News quoted the judge as saying.
Zaileel, who worked for Malindo Air, was recruited by a drug syndicate when they discovered that she was desperate for money.
The court was told that Zailee had resorted to selling brownies and Tupperware to make ends meet after drawing down on her mortgage.
After exhausting all other avenues to raise the money needed, she had requested the airline company canvas for donations on her behalf.
An acquaintance, who was privy to the e-mail she sent, then approached her and offered the job as a drug carrier.
“I was vulnerable and at the time, willing to do anything,” Zailee had said in her defence.
The court heard that Zailee had undergone training for the role.
The training included learning how to talk in code and walking confidently with a package between one’s legs.
Between October 2018 and January 2019, Zailee made eight trips to Australia, smuggling a total of more than 4kg of heroin with a street value of about A$3 million.
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