Woman, 38, denies drug smuggling

A woman charged with drug smuggling has told a court that she did not know crystal methamphetamine was illegal.

DUBAI // A woman charged with drug smuggling told a court yesterday she did not know crystal methamphetamine was illegal.

IA, a 38-year-old visitor from Nigeria, denied smuggling and possessing a psychotropic drug.

The woman was arrested at Terminal One in Dubai International Airport on June 23 after customs inspectors found more than 3kg of the drug in her hand baggage.

"Your honour, I did not know the items I carried were illegal in the UAE," she told Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

A customs inspector told prosecutors the woman had been stopped and searched because an X-ray machine had identified suspicious-looking objects in her hand baggage.

According to prosecution records, IA told anti-narcotics officers the baggage did not belong to her. "She said she was supposed to hand over the luggage to a Nigerian man upon her arrival in Dubai," an officer said.

Dubai Police then booked the woman into a hotel in the Al Baraha district of Deira to set up the exchange as part of a sting operation. A Nigerian man was arrested but released without charge, according to the prosecutor's statement.

The court will issue its verdict in the case on November 10.