‘Hemorrhoid patient’ gets ten years for heroin smuggling

A 52-year-old woman was sentenced to ten years in prison on Friday for trying to smuggle nearly five kilogrammes of heroin into Sweden.

The woman claims she had come to Sweden to seek treatment for trouble with her hemorrhoids.

Customs officials at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport stopped the woman in September and found 4,975 grammes of heroin stashed in one of her bags.

Officials estimate the confiscated drugs had a street value of around 7.5 million kronor ($940,000).

According to prosecutors, the 52-year-old woman worked as a security guard in Singapore earning the equivalent of a few thousand kronor per month.

But the woman’s passport showed that she had been on a number of expensive international trips.

Between July and September alone she had traveled from Malaysia to Spain, to Turkey, to Brazil, and back to Turkey, before coming to Sweden.

The woman alleged that her actions were neither intentional nor negligent and that she wasn’t aware of the bag’s contents.

She said that in Malyasia she met several Nigerian who instructed her to seek help from a specific doctor who could help treat her hemorrhoids.

The woman then traveled around the world in search of different doctors, she explained.

In every country she met another set of Nigerians who in turn told her to visit a different doctor.

The police suspect that a Nigerian gang is responsible for the smuggling scheme.

According to doctors in Sweden, the woman didn’t need emergency treatment for her hemorrhoids.

In addition to 10 years in prison, the woman was also sentenced to deportation for life by the Attunda district court near Stockholm.


EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden’s airport chaos?

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is once again suffering hour-long queues for security due to a surge in travel and personnel shortages. What can you do if you miss your flight?

EXPLAINED: What can I do if I miss my flight due to Sweden's airport chaos?

What’s the situation at Arlanda over the Ascension Day weekend? 

According to the airport operator Svedavia, the worst peak for the long weekend is probably over. “Today looks good with no long waiting time at Arlanda,” Ellen Laurin, the company’s press officer, told The Local on Friday. “Yesterday morning [Thusday], we had a morning peak before nine in the morning, and the rest of the day was OK.” 

According to Swedavia’s website, waiting times at security were less than five minutes on Friday morning.  

However, she warned that there could once again be big queues on Sunday when those who have travelled to Sweden over the long weekend make their way home. 

“Sunday is a big travel day when people will fly home again. There could be queues at peak times,” she said. “We recommend that passengers have a close contact with their airline for information about their flight. It is important to have extra time at the airport and to be prepared.  

READ ALSO: What’s behind the queues at Arlanda Airport? 

Which airports in other countries have problems? 

Arlanda is not the only airport facing problems due to delays staffing up again after the pandemic. On Friday morning, Twitter users were complaining of two-hour queues at the border control at Heathrow Airport in the UK, while at the UK’s Manchester Airport, passengers were reporting queues for security of up to two hours on Thursday. 

Dublin Airport is also facing regular two-hour queues at security. Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport had a 1km security queue on Thursday, pushing the Dutch airline KLM to cancel flights. 

Can I get compensation or insurance payments if I missed my flight due to the queues? 

The SAS airline has already underlined that it is their customers’ responsibility to make sure that they arrive at the airport in sufficiently good time to make their flight. 

“To be certain you can come with us, you should be in good time, and if you are in good time, you will manage to get your flight,” she told state broadcaster SR. “It is always the customer’s responsibility to be on your way as early as is necessary.”

People who miss flights are also likely to struggle to get payouts from travel insurance, warned Gabriella Hallberg, an expert on travel insurance at the Swedish Consumers’ Insurance Bureau. 

“If you’re at the airport and are hit by security controls that take a very long time, they consider that it is the consumer themselves who have not planned their journey,” she told SR

She said that it might be possible to find an insurance company that is willing to insure against flights missed due to security queues.