A 41-year-old Australian woman has been sentenced to 23
years' jail in Cambodia for attempting to smuggle 2.2
kilograms of heroin to Australia last year.
Ann Yoshe Taylor was sentenced on Wednesday by the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court along with a 19-year-old Frenchwoman,
Charlene Savarino, who faces a 25-year jail term, for
attempting to traffic heroin.
Taylor and Savarino were detained as they prepared to board
an Australia-bound flight at the Phnom Penh International
Airport in September last year. The drugs were found in their
backpacks, according to reports. All three pleaded innocent.
After their arrest, Cambodian police detained Savarino's
boyfriend, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, Precious Chneme
Nwokoo, at his rented apartment in the city.
Cambodian police alleged the three were part of an
international drug trafficking ring and had been under
investigation for up to three months before their detention.
A bespectacled Taylor as well as Savarino were brought to
court handcuffed and wearing brown-orange prison coveralls.
The two women had alleged the baggage belonged to Nwoko. They
said they were taking it to Australia where it was to be
handed to an unidentified man.
Two other Nigerians sought at the same time and who evaded
capture were also sentenced to 27 years in prison in
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
said besides the jail sentence, Taylor was fined
approximately $US12,500 ($A13,524) for drug trafficking.
A DFAT spokesperson said the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh
was providing Taylor with consular assistance.
Taylor now has 30 days to lodge an appeal.