Norwegians’ trial begins in Bolivia

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Three young Norwegian women caught with 22 kilos of cocaine in their luggage are finally getting their day in court in Bolivia. Two of the three remain jailed in Cochabamba, but the third skipped bail and fled to Norway.

Stina Brendemo Hagen, age 19, and Madeleine Rodriguez, age 23, have been held in a women’s prison for nearly two years, waiting for their case to come up. An earlier trial launch in December ended up being postponed.

The third woman was released on bail in December, but quickly managed to get a new passport and flew home to Norway in February. She since has been questioned and charged by Norwegian police, but Bolivian authorities consider her as an escapee and want her returned.

All three are charged with trying to smuggle the cocaine, with a street value of NOK 20 million in Norway, out of Bolivia. They faced up to 30 years in prison on smuggling charges, but the charges reportedly were reduced to transport, not smuggling, carrying shorter terms.

Norwegian media reported that Hagen has become pregnant while in prison, but that has no effect on court proceedings. She hasn’t identified the father.

Views and News staff