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Regional News

Palau woman arrested for meth trafficking

KOROR (Island Times/Pacnews) — Happy Fritz, 39, was carrying 50 grams of methamphetamine in her body when she was arrested after arriving from Manila, the Philippines on Saturday, authorities said.

It was the second foiled attempt within a week to smuggle methamphetamine into this island country.

The first involved Mike Taman or Teman who was on his way to Palau when he was arrested at the airport in Manila after security officials frisked him and found 10 sachets of meth inside a diaper.

According to court documents, Teman was a confidential informant of the Belau Drug Enforcement Task Force and was paid for participating in controlled-buy operations.

For her part, Fritz was searched on Saturday at the Palau airport and again at the Belau National Hospital before she was arrested on the afternoon of the same day.

The authorities obtained a search warrant on the same day from the Palau Supreme Court and executed the warrant at the hospital.

The court imposed a cash bail of $5,000 on Monday and set a status conference for May 9, 2019.

According to Detective Miwa Nebayama, a special agent with the Narcotics Enforcement Agency, Fritz left Palau on the 16th of this month for a meeting with a friend in the Philippines about a business opportunity.

She came back to Palau on the 20th. Her baggage was searched by the customs agents upon her arrival at the airport.

Fritz appeared calm at first, but as the search and the questioning continued she became agitated, Nebayama said.

He added that Fritz agreed to a secondary search requested by Customs and performed by female agents.

“Upon arrival in the secondary search area Happy Fritz immediately removed her clothing prior to being asked to do so.” Nabeyama said.

It was during this secondary search that agents found a piece of gauze in the suspect’s body.

Nabeyama said Fritz attempted to push the white object farther inside her body while denying possession of any suspicious object.

Fritz then suggested going to the hospital where she said she would voluntarily submit to an x-ray.

The x-ray conducted at the hospital revealed a foreign object in her body.

With an estimated street value of $1,000 per gram of methamphetamine in Palau, the illegal substance confiscated from Fritz is valued at $50,000.