American woman accused of smuggling 1kg of cocaine by hiding it in her high heels ‘was groomed’

An American woman who smuggled 1kg of cocaine into Australia by hiding the drugs in her high heels was lured to the country by a man she met online, her lawyer claims.

Denise Marie Woodrum, 51, was caught with the drugs after arriving in Australia on August 4 last year.

While making he way through customs, the 51-year-old was stopped by officers who  promptly discovered just over 1kg of pure cocaine in her luggage.

The Missouri woman lived alone, had health complications and a marriage breakdown before she struck up an ‘intimate relationship’ with a man named Hendrik Cornelius, whom she met online. 

Despite messaging constantly, the pair were yet to meet, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

In July of last year she texted the man, ‘Can you promise you will never leave me?’ 

But despite exchanging hundreds of texts with him over five months, she never met him face to face.

Her Legal Aid lawyer, Rebecca Neil, said ‘she was groomed’ to provide financial gain for Mr Cornelius.

She told District Court Judge, Penelope Wass, ‘there are fraudsters out there who are relying on woman who are vulnerable’.  

Ms Neil added that Woodrum was a ‘very religious woman who belonged to a lay order of sisters in the U.S’.  

Woodrum was convicted for importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug on January 31. 

Her father, Tom Rozanski, said the incident ‘came out of the blue’ and was ‘a big shock to the whole family’. 

The 51-year-old spoke to her father weekly but she never told him of her new romantic interest. 

Mr Rozanski said his daughter had severe depression and had lost her job at the YMCA. She began working two jobs to make ends meet and underwent a hysterectomy, he said. 

Photographs supplied to Daily Mail Australia by Australian Border Force show three pairs of shoes sitting on Border Force scales, as well as a number of makeup canisters.

X-rays also supplied by Border Force show the shoe heels glowing bright orange. 

Another image shows what looks to be tape covering the bottom of the shoe’s large heel.  




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