A 51-year-old Missouri woman who was arrested in Australia last year for smuggling cocaine inside the heels of her shoes made a stop in Trinidad and Tobago before arriving there.
Court documents show Denise Marie Woodrum made several stops before arriving in Australia to visit a man she met online was caught according to officials
In preparation for her trip, she flew from Missouri to Texas, then to Trinidad and Tobago on July 18. The next day she travelled to Suriname before returning to the US via Trinidad and Tobago on July 30. On August 2, she departed Miami for Sydney via Los Angeles.
According to a report carried on Fox News earlier this week, Woodrum was busted while going through customs at the Sydney Airport on August 2.
She was stopped by officers who discovered two pounds of cocaine in her luggage.
However, Woodrum, who is a lay associate with the Catholic order Adorers of the Blood of Christ, claims she was duped by a man named Hendrick Cornelius and that the items in her luggage were actually meant for him.
Woodrum claimed she had crippling debt due to major health problems and a failed marriage. She thought the man she met online was someone special.
“She was groomed to provide financial gain for this person, Hendrick Cornelius, whatever person or persons it was behind this identity. She went on this trip, she was bringing artefacts,” her lawyer Rebecca Neil said in court last week.
In January, Woodrum pleaded guilty to importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug. However, Judge Penelope Wass has questioned the 51-year-old woman’s explanation, saying it’s inconsistent and at times unbelievable.
According to an agreed set of facts tendered to the court, Woodrum flew from Missouri to Texas in the US, then to Trinidad and Tobago on July 18.
From there she travelled to the Suriname capital city of Paramaribo.
On July 30, still in the South American country, Woodrum reportedly texted Cornelius: “Riding in his car to get stuff no signature needed.”
That same day she travelled back to the US via Trinidad and Tobago.
On August 2, she texted Cornelius a list of expenses and departed to Sydney from Miami via Los Angeles. “It’s been a pleasure serving together,” she reportedly texted after landing.
Stopped at the Sydney airport, Woodrum reportedly told officers she travelled to the Australian city to see the Harbour Bridge and the aquarium.
She said the shoes in her suitcase were a gift for her mother. A substance was reportedly detected inside the heel of a shoe, a wallet and buttons on clothing.
She later told investigators she’d been given gifts and clothes in South America to give to people in Sydney. Woodrum has remained in custody since her arrest and is due to be sentenced early next mon