19 June 2018

Namibia: Alleged Cocaine Dealers Remain in Custody

The two men arrested in connection with the largest drug bust ever in Namibia appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court yesterday on a charge of dealing in, alternatively being in possession of cocaine, with a street value of N$206 million, and were remanded in custody until 20 September.

State prosecutor Theresia Hafeni successfully opposed bail for Namibian Grant Noble (36) and South African Dinath Azhar (62), submitting before Walvis Bay magistrate Vicky Nicolaidis that the charge was very serious as it involved the illegal trafficking of 412kg of cocaine.

The bust by Erongo police and customs officials is a record narcotics haul for Namibia.

Police and customs officials at the Walvis Bay port had a container under surveillance since it arrived at the port earlier this month but was not immediately claimed, which aroused suspicion. Sniffer dogs were brought in, and they detected the presence of drugs inside the container.

The two suspects, Noble and Azhar, who were allegedly the owners of the container's cargo, were then summoned to open the container and the cocaine was found inside, packed in bond paper boxes.

It is alleged that the container was dispatched from Brazil via South Africa, with its end destination listed as Narraville at Walvis Bay, according to Erongo police.

In opposing bail, Hafeni said it was feared the two suspects may abscond and interfere with the ongoing cross-border investigation. Nicolaidis agreed with the prosecutor and denied them bail, postponing the matter to September to allow for further police investigations.

Noble was represented by Jan Wessels, and Azhar by Marinus Scholtz.

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