South African Nobanda Nolubabalo, 23, was arrested and held in Thailand's capital yesterday after customs officers allegedly noticed a suspicious white substance in her hair. Officials later carried out a search and discovered she had allegedly matted the Class A drug into her dreadlocks before boarding a flight from Brazil.
Thailand's Bangkok Post reported that the smuggled cocaine had a street value of £93,000 (4.5 million baht or about 1.2 million Rand). It is reported that: "Authorities found something unusual about her dreadlocks.
"A search found traces of white substance which turned out to be cocaine."A total of 1.5kg of cocaine was found hidden in her hair."
Nolubabalo was today held in custody at Bangkok's international Suvarnabhumi Airport as she disembarked a Qatar Airways flight which had come from Sao Paolo via Doha.
The Bangkok Post reported that the suspect had allegedly admitted trying to smuggle the drug and claimed she had done so after being hired to work as a drug mule by a Thailand-based businessman for £1,200 (60,000 baht, about 15,450 Rand).
Thailand has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws on the planet, with judges permitted to impose the death penalty for traffickers.
The South African's arrest follows the execution of another South African citizen this week for drug smuggling in China. Janice Linden, 38, was killed by lethal injection on Monday after she was caught in November 2008 trying to smuggle 3kg of crystal meth into the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma appealed unsuccessfully to the Chinese government to commute the sentence before she was put to death in prison.