Defendants deny cocaine smuggling

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Two Norwegian women on trial in Bolivia continue to deny they had any idea that they were carrying 22 kilos of cocaine in luggage they were taking with them from Bolivia to Norway last year.

Madeleine Rodriguez, 23, and Stina Brendemo, age 19, are charged with attempting to transport drugs along with another young woman who skipped bail and fled home to Norway earlier this year. Their trial began last week.

Also charged is a 24-year-old man, Augusto Toro-Blacutt, who was on the witness stand this week. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that he repeatedly answered questions from the prosecutor by saying “I don’t remember” or “I’ve already told you that.” Nor would he answer questions about large deposits of money into his bank account.

His uncle is among several others charged in the case. The uncle is believed to have guided the Norwegian women, who have said they were on holiday in Bolivia, and paid for both their accommodation and airline tickets.

The women were stopped at the airport in Cochabamba while on their way back to Norway, and the cocaine was found in their suitcases. Defendant Madeleine Rodriguez testified last week that she had no knowledge of the cocaine, had simply been given the suitcases and thought “they looked brand-new.”

Police in Norway have also charged a total of 14 persons in the cocaine smuggling case.

Views and News staff