Viewers get a first-hand account from women who have been tricked into smuggling in the documentary, Malaysian Drug Mules
WHEN Rosna Shariff, 43, was offered US$60,000 (RM186,750) to pick up “important documents” from Peru, she thought she had found her dream job.
Without hesitation, the mother of three quickly accepted the offer. When she entered Peru’s international airport, her luggage was seized and she was taken away. Unaware to her, hidden in her luggage was 5kg of uncut cocaine, worth half a million US dollars.
Her life was about to change forever.
Malaysian Drug Mules, a new documentary by Crime Investigation Asia, traces the police discovery of a recurring pattern in criminal deception by a foreign drug cartel. Every year, hundreds of women are tricked into smuggling drugs.
For Lisa (not her real name), her world came crashing down one day in 2007 when her husband was caught with drugs strapped on his body while trying to board a flight in Hong Kong. He is now serving his sentence in a foreign prison and she is struggling to make ends meet as a single parent for their two young children.
What makes them do it?
Malaysian Drug Mules executive producer and director Oman Dhas says: “The thing is, some people may not see a rational picture behind it. There are some cases where romance was involved by the syndicate. When some of them fall in love, they’ll gladly be doing it (smuggling drugs) for their boyfriend or girlfriend. They don’t think straight.”
Dhas, who won the Silver World Award at the New York Festival 2009 (Best Documentary Category) for his documentary series, Culture X, is based in Singapore. He is also the founder and executive producer/director of Third Floor Pictures Pte Ltd, which focuses on high-end television and film production such as Asia Exposed and Stranger Than You.
“The idea of making Malaysian Drug Mules came from filming for another project here some time back. During that time, the police highlighted a growing concern about Malaysian drug mules being caught outside of the country. The team thought it was something we should highlight,” he said.
When Rosna was finally released in October 2010 (she was sentenced to six years and eight months in the Santa Monica Federal Prison of Peru), she found herself stranded 19,000km away from home and without money. After a year of struggling in Peru, a non-profit group, Kelab Putra 1Malaysia, finally brought her home, with the help of Berita Harian.
While Rosna may be one of the few lucky ones who made it home, there are still a large number of Malaysians falling into the traps of these drug cartels every year.
“It’s easy to fall into their (drug syndicate) traps. It’s very hard to tell them apart and they may be your friends too. Through this documentary, we want to highlight cases such as Rosna’s. A person wouldn’t suspect or know that he or she is carrying drugs for someone they’ve just met on the Internet, for example,” he adds.
“I think an interesting part of this documentary is that you hear about first-hand experiences from the victims. Listening to them as they shared their story was really an eye-opening experience.”
For Rosna, life goes on and she is assisting the Malaysian police with their investigations into similar cases of drug smuggling deception.
Malaysian Drug Mules premieres today at 9pm on Astro Crime and Investigation Network, channel 732 with repeats on Wednesday (8pm), June 1 (11pm), June 3 (10pm), and June 18 (9pm). Details at citvasia.com/ciasia/