Drug smuggler given six years

Kyodo

The Osaka District Court has sentenced a Canadian woman to six years in prison and fined her ¥2.5 million for smuggling stimulants into Japan.

In a ruling Wednesday, the court dismissed claims by the counsel for Elaine Chan, 36, that she had misunderstood the meaning of what customs officers said during questioning following her arrival at Kansai International Airport due to a word’s mistranslation that led them to seize the drugs, which she was carrying in small packets inside her body.

Chan’s counsel, in entering a not-guilty plea earlier this month, had argued that this misinterpretation led to the illegal seizure of the drugs.

Earlier reports said Chan had signed a document regarding her “detention,” assuming she was thus in custody and unable to refuse a physical exam, after customs officials mistook the word for the “retention” of her belongings.

Presiding Judge Ikuro Toishi ruled that based on the customs officers’ testimony, Chan “fully understood the situation she was in at the time.”