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Call center worker gets 12 years for drug trafficking

23 June 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

A call center agent from Manila was sentenced on June 6 by a High Court judge to 12 years and three months in jail for trafficking cocaine into Hong Kong.

Ann Raian Cruz, 38, sat calmly in the dock but bowed her head as Court of First Instance Judge Wong read his sentence.

Cruz was found with 508 grams of pure grade cocaine concealed in her handbag when she arrived in Hong Kong on July 30 last year. The drug is valued at $694,565.

She pleaded guilty on Apr 8 to a charge of drug trafficking.

In mitigation, the defence lawyer said the defendant is a single mother who supports her 20-year-old daughter as well as her parents. At the time of her arrest she was working at a call center in Manila

Judge Wong said he had considered all circumstances of the case and the mitigation offered by the defense before reaching the sentence.

Since her arrest, Cruz has taken part in an anti-drug trafficking information campaign launched by correctional chaplain Fr John Wotherspoon and involved detainees.

The mostly women inmates revealed the modus operandi of mostly Nigerian drug syndicates who lure unsuspecting village girls and desperate women into the international drugs trade and use them as “drug mules” or couriers through deception.

In her case, Cruz revealed how she met African businessman named Chris Williams on dating site twoo.com. They became friends, fell in love and then dated as their relationship grew.

Williams reportedly invited Cruz to join him on a trip to Hong Kong but at the last minute, backed out and told the defendant to go ahead on her own.  On her way to the airport Cruz was told to pick up a handbag which was supposed to be a present  As it turned out, the bag had two slabs of cocaine hidden in its lining.

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