New Era (Windhoek)

20 December 2012

Namibia: Ephedrine Suspects Denied Bail

Windhoek — Two women found in possession of a huge consignment of the drug ephedrine, a constituent of the drug known as 'tik', were denied bail by the Windhoek Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Twenty-six-year-old Zimbabwean national Pricilla Masa and 38-year-old South African national Sisa Heather Buthelezi are facing charges of importing medicine without authorisation and of dealing in drugs. The two women were arrested on Monday at a guesthouse in Windhoek after the staff members at the lodge noticed suspicious behaviour and notified the police. Police found Masa in possession of 9.930kg of the drug with an estimated street value of N$5 million, and Buthelezi with 10.260kg of the substance in her luggage valued at N$5 million.

Ephedrine is a sought-after ingredient for making the 'tik' drug, a highly addictive drug popular in the Western Cape, and to make ecstasy which is a popular drug for nightclub patrons. State prosecutor, Taodago Gaweseb, opposed the granting of bail to the two women informing Magistrate Justine Asino that Masa and Buthelezi are both foreigners and possess no assets in Namibia, or a fixed address, and the likelihood of them absconding if granted bail was therefore very high.

He further said the total value of the drugs confiscated, estimated to be N$10 million, make their arrest the single largest drug bust in Namibia in monetary terms.

Both Masa and Buthelezi indicated to the court that they would conduct their own defence, even after Magistrate Asino reiterated the seriousness of their alleged offence. The case was remanded to February 2 next year for further investigations and the two women remain in custody at the Windhoek Police Station.

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