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Friday, May 20, 2022

Norwegians sentenced to jail in Bolivia

Two young Norwegian women who were caught with cocaine in their luggage while leaving Bolivia nearly two years ago have been sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison by a Bolivian court. An alleged accomplice was handed a 20-year jail term.

Stina Brendemo Hagen, age 19, burst into tears when her sentence was read in court in Cochabamba, Bolivia late Wednesday Norwegian time. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Thursday that she plans to appeal.

Her traveling companion, 23-year-old Madeleine Rodriguez, was also sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison for attempting to smuggle cocaine. Augusto Toro-Blacutt, age 24, and his Bolivian uncle were sentenced to 20 years while several other Bolivian defendants were acquitted.

Rodriguez and Toro-Blacutt were reportedly considering an appeal of their jail terms. All the defendants have denied guilt in the case.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that the two Norwegian women were immediately escorted out of the courtroom and back to the prison where they’ve been held since May 2008, when they were stopped and searched at the airport in Cochabamba.

A third young Norwegian women who was traveling with Hagen and Rodriguez and also charged in the case had been released from prison in December but then skipped bail and fled home to Norway. She has since been questioned and charged by Norwegian police, while Bolivian officials seek her extradition.

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