A Catholic nun was busted at the Sydney Airport on a journey that has been characterized as a “higher calling.” Denise Woodrum, 51, a sister of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order, was apprehended smuggling 756 grams of pure cocaine in her high heels, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. Woodrum was stopped on her way through customs after the cocaine was spotted packed into the high heels she was carrying in her luggage. How Woodrum turned into a drug smuggler is a tale of online romance gone wrong.
Woodrum, who resided in Missouri at the time, was dealing with major health problems, crippling debt, and had a divorce in her rear-view mirror. She had given up on ever meeting someone to love again, Then she met a man using the name Hendrik Cornelius online, and suddenly she believed that her life was about to change. She exchanged thousands of text messages with him, according to the New York Post, The pair had never met in person, however, and her trip to Australia was to be their first fact-to-face meeting and the beginning of their life together. There was a condition to all of this happening however. She needed to bring Cornelius something.
Woodrum’s defense team asserted that what she was bringing on the trip were artifacts that her lover had requested she bring. The prosecution contends that she knew she was smuggling cocaine, and could not possibly be naive enough to think that cocaine is an artifact, or that even if she was, she had to know smuggling of any sort was illegal. Eventually, she did plead guilty to importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, or in layman’s terms, trafficking.
According to the New York Daily News, her father blames the situation on her bouts with depression and having a hysterectomy. Judge Wass, who is hearing her case, was unimpressed with that as an excuse. She also stated on the record that she has doubts about Woodrum’s story of not knowing that her winding trips to multiple countries prior to going to Sydney were for less than legal purposes.
Her trips on behalf of her internet lover started by going from Missouri to Texas, then through Trinidad and Tobago, on to Suriname in South America, and then back to the U.S. via Trinidad and Tobago again. Supposedly, this was all just to pick up small gifts for people she would meet in a hotel in Australia a couple of weeks later on behalf of Cornelius.
After finally pleading out, her hearing will be held next month to determine what her sentence will be. A major determining factor in her sentence will hinge on how much her claims of naivete and being groomed to perform tasks for her online lover is believed.