JOHANNESBURG, Feb 18 — A second South African woman has been arrested in Kenya for suspected drug smuggling. Alicia Coetzer was detained at the country’s main airport allegedly carrying more than a kilogramme of cocaine.
If convicted, Coetzer could be jailed for at least ten years. Originally from Cape Town, Coetzer flew into Nairobi from Brazil over the weekend.
She had hoped to fly on to Botswana but instead, police, who were seemingly tipped off, detained and searched her intimately at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. They allegedly found more than a kilogramme of cocaine.
Her lawyer, Cliff Ombeta, said: “They found 80 pellets and they say she was carrying the big one in her private parts, with a further 10 pellets.”
Coetzer pleaded not guilty to a charge of drug trafficking and asked the magistrate if she could be deported back home. The magistrate replied that she had to stand trial in Kenya for a very serious offence.
Coetzer’s arrest came less than a week after Kenyan authorities caught another South African at the airport. Taran Louise Chukwu confessed to trying to smuggle cocaine but later changed her plea to not guilty. She too had flown in from Brazil, also en route to Botswana.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the busiest in East Africa and has become a hub for drug smugglers. Hardly a week passes without police arresting suspected drug traffickers.
“It has been found that Kenya is not only the end user but also a transit point. Many people who come to Kenya are being used,” added Ombeta.
Both women are being held in police cells at the airport and it is not yet clear if they actually know each other.