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Out of Africa

While Custom Officials Defend Failure to Detect Ugandan with a Gutful of Sabu-Sabu, South African Woman Arrested Trying to Smuggle US$239,000 into Drugs in Bali.

(9/9/2011) Customs and Excise officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport have blamed a broken piece of equipment as the reason why a 41-year-old Ugandan woman, Phoebe Annete, was able to escape detection with more than one kilogram of methamphetamines concealed within her gastro-intestinal tract. [See: When Death is Hard to Swallow] .

The dead body of the Ugandan was discovered at a Kuta hotel. A subsequent autopsy revealed the large stash of drugs carried within her intestinal organs believed to have been in situ when the woman landed in Bali on August 28, 2011.

Beritabali.com quoted the chief of Customs and Excise at Bali’s airport, I Made Wijaya, as saying he suspect Phoebe slipped through the inspections because of a strong network and the problems of detecting drugs concealed in such a manner.

Wijaya is nonetheless prepared to undertake a comprehensive internal investigation and review all his team members on duty at the time the woman landed at the airport. However, due to the fact that some of the officials were on holiday for the Moslem New Year, he admits some inspections were not being carried out due to a lack of manpower,

Said Wijaya: “We will undertake an inspection of officers working at the time she arrived. We promise that our officers in the field are working to the maximum.”

Wijaya was adamant in defending his cadres, dismissing the possibility that bribery may have been involved. He also noted that narcotic dogs on duty at the airport at the time of Annete’s arrivals also failed to detect the drugs.

“I suspect that the narcotics syndicate had already studied our work patterns and the capabilities of our detection equipment. The smuggling effort was successful because our detection system was negative,” explained Wijaya.

The police are interviewing officials on duty at the airport at the time of the woman’s arrival in the course of investigating the incident.

South African Woman Arrested

Also from Beritabali.com is the report that a South African woman, Nyolukana Nomakorinte Christabell (46), was arrested at Bali’s airport on Saturday, September 3, 2011, when more than one kilogram of methamphetamine were found concealed in her undergarments.

Police have also arrested a believed associate of the South African at the Vila Sari Uma Alas in Seminyak. The individual arrested is believed by police to be part of an international network of drug couriers.

Wijaya explained that Nomakontinte was a known target under surveillance by his officers based on intelligence reports.

Authorities have placed a street Value of Rp. 2.1 billion (US$239,000) on the drugs confiscated from Nonakontinte. The woman told police she has been ordered to take a taxi to Vila Uma Alas in Kerobokan where she was to be paid US$850 and a bonus of US$10,000.