Okay, folks, let’s meet The Cocaine Nun.
Denise Marie Woodrum, 51, was stopped in the Sydney Airport with about two pounds of cocaine stuffed in the heels of her shoes. Woodrum, a Sister of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, was probably the last person the Australian Border Force (the equivalent of the TSA Down Under) expected to run $150,000 worth of coke through an X-ray machine for all the world to see.
Pretty incredible, but it gets weirder. Woodrum pleaded guilty to moving a “commercial quantity” of a controlled drug, but her lawyer, Rebecca Neil, told District Court Judge Penelope Wass that her client had been catfished into smuggling. The hilariously fictitious-sounding “Hendrik Cornelius” asked Woodrum to bring “artifacts” to Sydney after a lengthy online courtship and, as a bored nun in the Midwest, she was happy to oblige.
Neil maintains that her client is a vulnerable woman who was preyed upon. “She was groomed to provide a financial gain for this person, Hendrik Cornelius, whatever person or persons it was behind this identity,” Neil said, according to Sydney Morning Herald. “She went on this trip thinking she was bringing artifacts for him.”
Despite hundreds of text messages to her mystery man, the two had never met. “Can you promise you will never leave me?” she texted him last year. “You are my Only and First True Family!!!”
Judge Wass wasn’t swayed by the notion that she’d been duped. “I am less than convinced by her explanation,” she said, according to the Herald.
It may not have helped that, when initially notified that cocaine residue was found on her shoes, her immediate response was “Why, how much did you find?”
She had the nerve to ask “how much did you find”.
— Kitty Jackson (@kittythejackson) August 14, 2018
— d (@sheva4200) August 14, 2018
Woodrum had flown from Missouri to Texas, then to Trinidad and Tobago, then to South America, and then texted someone allegedly named Stacie: “This whole trip is paid for and will get additional payment for work.” Prosecutor Ben Dunstan pushed the judge to find that, in light of her strange reactions, the odd route around the world, and the pounds of cocaine in her heels, Woodrum had agency over whether or not to participate in the cocaine plot.
Words that don’t belong together – nuns, heels, cocaine, and boyfriend. pic.twitter.com/O9OChtHjyW
— Tina Spiwe (@TinaSpiwe) August 15, 2018
Her father, Tom Rozanski, expressed their family’s shock at Woodrum’s arrest. “All of a sudden she met someone she talked to… Life took a turn. She has never done anything like this before, and this experience has been difficult for me to understand. Mostly because none of our family has had anything happen to them that even remotely resembles what Denise has done,” he told the Herald.
Woodrum has been in custody since the day of her arrest and will be sentenced in September.
The authorities were having nun of it
— Michelle Daltry (@MichelleDaltry) August 14, 2018
Catfished or no, if you’re ever caught with cocaine, you should never ask “How much?”