US Woman Released From East Timor Prison After Drug Probe Nightmare [Video]
It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a U.S. woman, 41-year-old Stacey Addison, was arrested in September, after sharing a cab with a man carrying methamphetamine.
Addison has been detained in Dili, East Timor, for almost four months, but is now finally out of jail, and is staying with a former East Timor leader after her release Thursday. Addison insists she is innocent of any drug-related charges.
Addison, a veterinarian from Oregon, had been traveling solo since January 2013, after quitting her job to explore the world, starting in Antarctica. She says on September 5, she shared a taxi from close to the Indonesian border to travel to Dili, the capital of the southeast Asian country of East Timor.
According to Addison’s mother, Bernadette Kero of Klamath Falls, Oregon, while her daughter and the man were traveling, her fellow passenger asked the driver to stop so he could pick up a package at a DHL office. Shortly after this, the car was surrounded by police, and all occupants were arrested. It turned out police had been monitoring the package, which contained methamphetamine.
Initially, officials held Addison for four nights, after which a judge released her, as the man had testified that he didn’t know her. However, the judge also prevented Addison from leaving the country while investigations continued.
The New York Daily News reported Addison attended another court appearance in late October, where she was hoping to get her passport back, but the judge ordered her arrest yet again, and she was sent to Gleno Prison outside the city.
According to her lawyer, Paul Remedios, at that time there was an actual warrant for her arrest, but the reason for the warrant was not clear.
Addison petitioned for her release earlier in December, but never expected she would be granted her release in time for Christmas, saying she thought everything would be closed at that time of year.
Kero told CNN the whole experience was a “nightmare,” and the fact her daughter has been released now was the best Christmas present she could imagine.
In an email, Kero wrote that the whole situation was extremely stressful for the whole family, adding, “Of course we are now hoping that her passport will be returned and she will be able to return home to Oregon very soon.”
Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, welcomed the decision to release Addison, but confirmed that the government still has her passport.
Addison’s lawyer will now work on getting her passport released so that she is able to return home. In the meantime, she is enjoying the hospitality of former East Timorese President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta.
According to her mother, Addison has been suffering from gastrointestinal illnesses and skin abscesses during her stay in prison, but is now getting the medical attention she needs.
Addison was luckier than a Georgia resident, as Inquisitr reported earlier in December that during a drug raid, homeowner David Hooks, 59, was shot dead by police. No drugs were found in the home, and the raid apparently happened after a confessed methamphetamine addict, Rodney Garrett, allegedly stole a vehicle from Hooks’ property. While the innocent homeowner is dead, the police officer who killed him apparently remains free.
[Image: Screen grab from YouTube video]