Australian Maria Exposto faces death penalty if convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia

Australian Maria Exposto faces death penalty if convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia

Australian Maria Exposto faces death penalty if convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia

Updated 27 December 2017, 10:35 AEDT

Maria Exposto was caught with 1.1kg of crystal meth when she was arrested at Kuala Lumpur international airport in 2014 and now potentially faces the death penalty under Malaysia's tough anti-trafficking laws.

A 54-year-old Australian woman could be sentenced to death if convicted of drug trafficking by a Malaysian court today.

Key points:

  • Mother-of-four said she was tricked into carrying 1.1kg of crystal meth by man she met online
  • Malaysia has a mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking cases
  • Verdict expected at 5:00pm AEST

Maria Exposto, from Sydney, was caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2014.

She said she was tricked into carrying the drugs by a man she met online.

The mother-of-four was en route to Melbourne from Shanghai — where her lawyers said she had travelled after falling for an online romance scam by a person claiming to be a US serviceman, the AFP news agency reported.

Customs officers found the drugs stitched into the compartment of a backpack, which her lawyers said she believed only contained clothing, AFP said.

Malaysia has a mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking cases.

In 1986, Australians Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers were hanged in Malaysia for heroin trafficking — the first Westerners to be executed under the country's tough anti-drug laws introduced in 1983.

Another Australian, Michael McAuliffe, was also executed by hanging in the country for heroin trafficking in 1993.

Judges will be given discretion to hand down other penalties some time in 2018.

A verdict on Exposto's case is expected at 5:00pm AEST.