Sydney grandmother Lorn Cheng charged & arrested for allegedly importing heroin in 252 pellets
Posted on January 14, 2015 | By Henry | Leave a response
Brenda filed a missing persons report last Friday, concerned that her mother hadn’t returned from a holiday in Cambodia when she said she would.
Lorn Cheng, 51, often made the journey to her birth country to visit family and friends. She was due back at home in Cabramatta on Thursday after a seven week stay.
However, Brenda, 22, was deeply shocked to learn on Tuesday that the reason she hadn’t heard from her mother was because she had been arrested at Sydney Airport on Thursday and later alleged to have 252 pellets of heroin secreted inside her.
Ms Cheng, a grandmother with dual citizenship, had allegedly ingested the pellets in Cambodia before boarding the nine hour flight home.
She was stopped by customs officers in Sydney for a random luggage scan which allegedly detected ephedrine and cocaine residue. The suspicious residue prompted officers to do a full body scan which “showed inconsistencies,” Customs alleged.
Federal police took Ms Cheng to hospital on Thursday and, days later, she allegedly passed 252 pellets containing a substance believed to be heroin.
She was charged with importing a marketable quantity of illegal drugs and appeared before Central Local Court for the first time on Tuesday, alerting Brenda to her mother’s fate.
“Every time she lands, she’ll call me and I’ll arrange to go pick her up to save money but I got no phone call on Thursday so we got really worried,” she said.
When she filed a missing persons report at Cabramatta police station on Friday, police did not tell her that their federal counterparts had arrested Ms Cheng the day before.
“I didn’t know anything, this is such a huge shock, she has never done anything like this whatsoever,” said Brenda, whose surname has been withheld.
The last time she spoke to her mother was two weeks earlier, when she said she was going to extend her stay for a week. Brenda assumed it was because she was having such a good time.
Ms Cheng was granted strict conditional bail on Tuesday and ordered to surrender her passport and report to Cabramatta police daily.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s regional Commander Tim Fitzgerald said “this method of importation was particularly concerning”.
“If you attempt to smuggle drugs internally, you are taking a serious gamble on your health and safety,” he said.
He said the danger Ms Cheng put herself in was not only a reminder of the health risks but also the “lengths that people and organised criminal groups will go to in order to import illicit drugs into our country”.
The maximum penalty is 25 years in prison. Ms Cheng will reappear in court in March.