Aussie grandmother escapes death penalty for drug trafficking

An Australian grandmother has avoided the death penalty after being found not guilty of drug trafficking in Malaysia.

But it could be months before she is allowed to return home with prosecutors planning to appeal.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was arrested in Kuala Lumpur three years ago after 1.1 kilograms of the drug ice was found in her luggage as she travelled from Shanghai to Melbourne.


Trafficking more than 50 grams of drugs carries a mandatory death penalty under Malaysia’s strict drugs laws.

Her lawyers argued she was the victim of an online love scam after being conned into bringing a backpack to Australia for a US soldier.

The 54-year-old told the court she had fallen for a man who was supposedly serving in Afghanistan and that he had proposed to her in 2013.

A judge accepted her version of events and released her into the custody of Immigration officials ahead of her deportation.

However, prosecutors have announced they will appeal the verdict, meaning Ms Exposto will be forced to remain in Malaysia for several months.