9 November 2009

Namibia: Five Arrested on Cocaine Charges

A MOZAMBICAN national and four South Africans are in Namibian prisons after they were arrested last week on cocaine smuggling charges involving a combined more than six kilograms of the drug.

Three of the South Africans were arrested at Hosea Kutako International Airport east of Windhoek on Tuesday last week. Another South African national and a Mozambican were arrested at Keetmanshoop on Thursday.

Two of the suspects arrested at the airport are alleged to have brought cocaine into Namibia inside their intestines. The other suspect allegedly had the cocaine hidden in a false compartment in her suitcase.

The two suspects arrested at Keetmanshoop are claimed to have had the cocaine in the luggage that they had with them while on a bus journey that had started in Windhoek and was supposed to take them to South Africa.

Mozambican national Armindo Antonio Magaia (37) and South African fellow traveller Patricia Nandipha Gcilishe (39) appeared in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court on Friday on a charge of dealing in dangerous dependence producing drugs, alternatively possession of drugs.

The Namibian Police's Karas Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner Josephat Abel, said the two suspects had been under surveillance after they boarded a bus at Windhoek. They were arrested on arrival at a Keetmanshoop service station on Thursday at around 10h30.

Police seized a cocaine consignment of 2,946 kilograms that was found in the suspects' luggage, according Abel.

According to the Police's Public Relations Division in Windhoek, the cocaine was found in five packages that had been camouflaged as inner liners of men's shirts.

The cocaine is valued at some N$1,47 million.

With the arrests that were carried out at the airport on Tuesday a total of 3,759 kg of cocaine, valued at about N$1,879 million, was seized by the Police's Drug Law Enforcement Unit.

South African national Ondela Kona (25) was arrested after 2,73 kg of cocaine was allegedly found in a hidden compartment in her suitcase.

Two fellow South Africans, Gerald Booysen (31) and Andile Sam Nyepa (29), were also arrested, after they were searched and medically examined and allegedly found to have swallowed 151 tubes of cocaine.

Booysen is alleged to have had 81 tubes or "bullets" of cocaine in his intestines, while Nyepa allegedly had 70 tubes of the drug inside his body.

According to the Police, the three South Africans arrested at the airport had brought a combined total of 3,759 kg of cocaine into Namibia.

Gcilishe, who was arrested at Keetmanshoop, had travelled from São Paulo in Brazil on the same flight that her compatriots, arrested at the airport, had used, the Police claimed yesterday.

Gcilishe and Magaia have to appear in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court again on December 4.

Appearing in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in Katutura on Thursday, Ondela's case was postponed to April 22 next year.

Booysen and Nyepa, who appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in Katutura on Friday, have to appear in court again on December 8.

All of them have been charged with dealing in dangerous dependence producing drugs, and were ordered to be kept in custody.

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