Thai police charge Philippines woman over cocaine haul

BANGKOK, March 24, 2010 (AFP) - Thai police said Wednesday they had arrested a Filipina at Bangkok's main airport for trafficking cocaine worth 247,000 dollars.

Rivera Maria Elenita, 40, was detained at Suvarnabhumi Airport late Monday after she arrived from Lima, Peru on an Emirates airline flight, according to a statement from the Narcotics Suppression Police.

Officers acting on a tip-off found 3.2 kilograms (7.0 pounds) of cocaine in two plastic bags, hidden in special compartments of her luggage.

Elenita told police she had been hired by a Western African drug gang in Bangkok to smuggle the cocaine for Thai clients, they said.

"She said she was paid some 1,000 dollars and would get more money when she delivered the drugs to a gang member," the police added.

The street value of the confiscated cocaine was estimated at 8.0 million baht (247,000 dollars).

Drugs trafficking officially carries the death penalty in Thailand although executions are rare.

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