Australian woman uses gambling debt as excuse for drug trafficking
In Australia, an Australian woman has used a family member’s gambling debt as an excuse for drug trafficking. For three days, Thi Phuong Mai Nguyen insisted that she had no choice because she had to pay off a family member’s gambling debt in this way. Her plea did not help, as the judges gave her a 12-year prison sentence.
Throughout her three-day trial, 51-year-old Thi Phuong Mai Nguyen did not deviate for a moment from her own story, in which she claimed she was guilty of drug trafficking to pay off a relative’s gambling debt.
Despite continuing to plead her innocence, both the jury and the judge did not believe her story. Prosecutors had enough evidence in hand to show that her claims were false. After all, they had followed her for times, recording all her movements.
During the trial, Judge David Boddice called the woman a liar, Australian PerthNow reports. He said the following:
“She sat in the witness box and gave statements that were deliberately untrue to hide her involvement in a sophisticated operation. The whole case shows she is a manipulative and cunning person trying to get the drugs without handing over the money.”
Judge David Boddice
Intermediary for criminal organization in the Netherlands
The woman claimed in the trial that she was attacked and threatened because a family member allegedly had a gambling debt. She was given a choice by the threateners to deal in drugs or her relative would be killed.
However, prosecutors managed to convince the jury that Nguyen was an up-and-coming drug baroness. Back in October 2019, they followed her as she attempted to buy AU$240,000 worth of drugs. Investigators also alleged that she was intermediary for a criminal organization in the Netherlands, among other countries.
Despite the evidence, she continued to claim she was innocent. Then prosecutors showed additional evidence about a drug deal involving 350 kilograms of MDMA for AU$1.1 million. She allegedly negotiated several times with the seller, but ultimately decided to abandon the deal. Evidence showed that she tried to receive the drugs without paying.
Should she have received the drugs, she could have pocketed more than $9 million. Her mission did not succeed, however, and the judge imposed a 12-year prison sentence on her due to all the evidence.