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Missouri nun busted for smuggling cocaine in high heels

August 16, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Missouri nun busted for smuggling cocaine in high heels

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A nun from Missouri smuggled 2 pounds of cocaine into Australia inside of her high heels — but claims she was deceived into carrying out the act by a man she met on the internet.

Last year, 51-year-old Denise Marie Woodrum was busted when she arrived at Sydney Airport while going through customs — when officers found the drugs stuffed inside of the heels of her shoes, according to the New York Post.

Her attorney, Rebecca Neil, told District Court Judge Penelope Wass last week that the items were intended for a mystery man Woodrum had met on the internet identified as Hendrik Cornelius.

“She was groomed to provide a financial gain for Hendrik Cornelius, whatever person it was behind this identity,” Neil stated.

Denise Woodrum was found with cocaine in her shoes after arriving at Sydney Airport.
Photo: Facebook

“She went thinking she was bringing artifacts for him.”

After her marriage failed and she suffered from major health issues that resulted in astronomical bills, Woodrum, a sister of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a religious order based in Kansas, thought she had met someone special.

“Can you promise you will never leave?” she said in a text to him last year. “You are my Only and True Family!”

Despite trading hundreds of messages with Cornelius, Woodrum had never met the man in person — and her attorney argued that she was “vulnerable” woman and this man preyed on her.

Woodrum pleaded guilty early this year to importing a commercial amount of a border controlled drug — but there are still questions regarding how much she was aware of what she was smuggling.

Wass challenged the assertion that Woodrum was tricked by an online lover, noting that it is “inconsistent and unbelievable.”

“I am less than convinced by her explanation,” she stated.

The cocaine was found stuffed inside the heels of a shoe. Photo: Australian Border Force

Prosecutor Ben Dunstan pressed the judge to find that Woodrum was aware that she was smuggling in cocaine as part of a conspiracy that she had full agency in.

Woodrum had traveled from Missouri to Texas and then to Trinidad and Tobago last July. The following day, she departed to Suriname in South America, and then she texted someone named “Stacie” and said, “This trip is paid for and will get additional payment for work.”

She texted Cornelius a list of expenses for hotels and flights and then left for Sydney.

When she was stopped at the airport, Woodrum said she’d traveled to Sydney to visit the Harbour Bridge and the aquarium and that the shoes in her suitcase were a present for her mother.

After being told the heels tested positive for cocaine, she asked: “Why, how much did you find?”

She later told detectives that she’d been given gifts and clothes in South America to bring to people in Sydney. Meanwhile, Cornelius was texting her messages such as: “Are you ok?” “What are you doing honey?” “Shuttle?” “Taxi?”

Woodrum has been in custody since her arrest and is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Meanwhile, her father, who resides in Illinois, said his daughter’s arrest “was a big shock to the family.”

“It came out of the blue,” Tom Rozanski, said to the Herald.

Rozanski said his daughter was a former teacher with a master’s in marketing who had depression and had undergone a hysterectomy.

“All of a sudden she met someone,” he added. “She said she was going to be traveling.”

“Life took a turn. She has never done anything like this, and this experience has been difficult for me. Mostly because none of our family has had anything happen to them that even remotely resembles what Denise has done,” he continued.

“I’m just hoping the best for her.”

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