Drug traffickers sentenced to death
A Malaysian court has convicted three Mexican brothers and two other people and sentenced them to be hanged for drug trafficking.
The Mexicans are from Sinaloa state, the cradle of their country's drug trade, but have no criminal record at home.
They were arrested at a secluded drug-making factory in 2008 and claimed they had been cleaning the place, not making drugs.
Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamad Zawawi Salleh ruled the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and imposed the death sentence, the mandatory penalty for drug trafficking in Malaysia. The other defendants are a Singaporean and a Malaysian.
"The court finds all five accused are aware and are involved in the activity of drug-making," Mohamad Zawawi said, adding that the verdict should be a warning to potential drug offenders.
"We are very sad. We thought we would be acquitted," said the eldest brother, Luis Alfonso Gonzales.
The court had previously rejected the defence's contention that some evidence discrepancies amounted to tampering after a chemist testified that seven items he received for analysis looked different from what he had seen at the factory.
The prosecution denied there was any manipulation that undermined the trial.
At the factory where the men were arrested, police found more than 29 kilograms of methamphetamine worth 44 million ringgit (15 million US dollars).
Judge Mohamed Zawawi said it was clear the men were arrested at an illegal drug laboratory. Traces of drug chemicals were on their clothes, and their claim to have been cleaning the place was not logical because stains were also found on their underwear, he said.