Mariko Takeuchi – Romance Scam Victim Became An Unwitting Drug Mule

An Example of how Online Relationships can get someone arrested!

Primary Category: Victim’s Story

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
• Yahoo Japan and other sources

About This Article

Mariko Takeuchi, the first Japanese national sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia, had her death sentence commuted to 30 years in prison on May 29, 2024, following judicial reforms that abolished mandatory capital punishment for certain offenses.

Arrested in 2009 for carrying 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from Dubai, she claimed she was unknowingly used as a drug mule by an acquaintance. Despite her defense, Malaysian courts consistently found her testimony not credible, leading to her death sentence in 2011.

After losing multiple appeals, her final chance for clemency came with the recent legal changes. Takeuchi’s case highlights the severe penalties for drug trafficking in Malaysia and the potential for reforms to impact long-standing sentences.

She could potentially walk free by 2029, reflecting the global implications of judicial reforms on individuals caught in complex legal and criminal circumstances.

Mariko Takeuchi - Romance Scam Victim Became An Unwitting Drug Mule - 2024 - on SCARS ScamsNOW.com

Mariko Takeuchi: Another Romance Scam Victim Turned into a Drug Mule and Was Arrested

She came from Japan to meet an Online Stranger and Malaysia sentenced her to hang for 3.5kg of meth. Now she gets to live

  • Mariko Takeuchi was the first Japanese national to be sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia
  • But she could now walk free by 2029 after her death sentence was commuted following last year’s judicial reform

Malaysia’s top court on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, commuted the death sentence imposed on a Japanese woman for drug trafficking to 30 years in prison, following a judicial reform that scrapped mandatory capital punishment for drugs and several other serious offenses.

In a unanimous decision, a panel of three judges at the Federal Court replaced the death sentence handed to Mariko Takeuchi, 50, with imprisonment of 30 years from the date of her arrest in 2009, after reviewing an appeal for a lesser punishment.

The Set Up

Mariko, represented by counsel Mohd Rafik Rahem, during her defense trial, she claimed that prior to her arrest, she had gone to Dubai to collect a sum of money from ‘Alex’, the friend of a good online friend of hers, to deliver to the latter (good friend).

She claimed after five days in Dubai, she met Alex’s driver who asked for her help to send a bag of clothing to Malaysia. She never checked the contents because of the steady manipulation from her online friend.

“The circumstances surrounding her testimony were unjustified and suspicious. Alex could have personally sent the money to his girlfriend and did not need the accused to come and take it from him,” held the judge.

The judge also noted, based on Mariko’s passport, that she had entered Malaysia five times before being arrested.

In 2011

A Malaysian court has sentenced a Japanese nurse to death by hanging for drug trafficking.

The High Court in central Selangor state found 37-year-old Mariko Takeuchi guilty of transporting 7.7 pounds (3.5 kilograms) of methamphetamine in a suitcase when she flew from Dubai into the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Oct. 30, 2009.

Takeuchi is the first Japanese convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia. A conviction carries a mandatory death penalty. Takeuchi’s lawyer Mohamad Rafik Rahem said Tuesday they will appeal the verdict.

The court rejected Takeuchi’s claim that she had not known about the drugs and was carrying the suitcase as a favor for an Iranian acquaintance.

Mohamad Rafik said Takeuchi was “very sad and disappointed.

Mariko, represented by counsel Mohd Rafik Rahem, during her defence trial claimed that prior to her arrest, she had gone to Dubai to collect a sum of money from Alex, the boyfriend of a good friend of hers, to deliver to the latter (good friend).

She claimed after five days in Dubai, she met Alex’s driver who asked for her help to send a bag of clothing to Malaysia.

In her judgment, however, Justice Datuk Siti Mariah Ahmad brushed aside Mariko’s defense as a made-up story.

“The circumstances surrounding her testimony were unjustified and suspicious. Alex could have personally sent the money to his girlfriend and did not need the accused to come and take it from him,” held the judge.

The judge also noted, based on Mariko’s passport, that she had entered Malaysia five times before being arrested.

Mariko’s defense had been that she preferred to travel to Malaysia because the airfare was cheaper than the hotel rates in Dubai.

But the judge remained dissuaded, pointing out that based on the flight itinerary, the airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai was a hefty RM10,500.

“The accused also failed to produce her so-called ‘good friend’ as a witness in her defense,” the judge noted, among others.

After the verdict was translated into Japanese by an interpreter from the Japanese embassy, Mariko wearing a brown jacket over a black T-shirt and jeans broke down in tears and had to be calmed down by court police.

Japanese embassy staff and media representatives from the country were also seen in the public gallery.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Aimie Yusreena Yunus stood in for DPP Gan Peng Kun who called six witnesses during the prosecution stage while Mariko was the only defense witness.

In 2015

A 41-year-old Japanese woman has lost her last chance to escape the gallows with Malaysia’s highest court affirming the death sentence meted out by a lower court for trafficking drugs into the Southeast Asian country, her lawyer said Friday.

The five-man bench of the Federal Court unanimously rejected Mariko Takeuchi’s appeal on Thursday.

“Basically, the court does not believe her defense,” her lawyer Teh Poh Teik told Kyodo News.

Teh had argued that there was a defect in the chemical analysis of the drug and questioned why the assistant chemist who conducted a particular test was not called to testify by the prosecution.

He also suggested to the court that Takeuchi, a former nurse, should have been charged with “possession,” for which the heaviest punishment is life imprisonment, instead of trafficking, which carries a mandatory death sentence.

“But in the end, just like the high court and the court of appeal, the federal court found her story not credible,” Teh said.

Takeuchi was convicted by the high court and sentenced to death in October 2011 for trafficking 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamines into Malaysia on Oct 30, 2009. In March 2013, she failed to get the appellate court to overturn her conviction and she took her case to the Federal Court where she again lost.

Under Malaysian law, anyone found possessing a minimum of 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered to be trafficking in a dangerous drug, which is punishable by death.

Takeuchi had pleaded innocent in her first trial. She testified that she did not know about the drugs found in a suitcase she brought to Malaysia from Dubai. She said she was carrying the suitcase as a favor for an Iranian acquaintance.

Takeuchi, who has been incarcerated since her arrest, is the first Japanese national to be tried on a drug trafficking charge in Malaysia and the first sentenced to hang.

Teh said her last resort is to seek a pardon from the Sultan of Selangor state. Meantime, Takeuchi is being held at a women’s prison in northeastern Kelantan state.

Accordign to Yahoo.jp:

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — May 29, 2024 – The retrial of Mariko Takeuchi, a 50-year-old prisoner who has been sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Malaysia and is imprisoned, was held at the Federal Court (Supreme Court) in the administrative capital of Putrajaya on the 29th, and the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison.

Following a review of the death penalty system in Malaysia last year, Takeuchi had requested a retrial.

Takeuchi is from Aomori Prefecture. In October 2009, I arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). About 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine were found in the luggage and he was charged with violating the Dangerous Drugs Act (illicit trafficking).

At the time, Malaysia had a mandatory death penalty system that imposed the death penalty for anyone found guilty of drug trafficking or other serious crimes such as murder, terrorism or kidnapping. Takeuchi claimed that he was only keeping a package that an acquaintance had asked him to keep, but he was sentenced to death in 2015.

Last year, the Malaysian government abolished the mandatory death penalty, paving the way for retrials of death row inmates whose sentences have been finalized and are imprisoned under the system.

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