A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a Thai college student to death on Tuesday for her role in a methamphetamine ring that spans two continents. Preeyanooch Phuttharaksa, 23, admitted in court that she flew as far as Togo and Benin to help several African men smuggle 3 kilograms of the drug into Vietnam last year. After meeting a Nigerian known only as Nalin at a Bangkok shopping mall, Phuttharaksa said she agreed in January 2011 to make the delivery for US$1,572, plus $1,000 for expenses. In October, she flew from Thailand to Togo, and then hopped on a bus to Benin to pick up the shipment from two men. Later that month, after layovers in Casablanca and Doha, Phuttharaksa arrived with the illegal suitcase in Ho Chi Minh City. Customs officials at Tan Son Nhat International Airport arrested her upon discovering the methamphetamine. Phuttharaksa is believed to be part of a transnational drug trafficking ring run by Africans in Vietnam who recruit schoolgirls. Before her arrest, Phuttharaksa had sneaked drugs into Vietnam twice, according to the indictment.
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