Maputo — The criminal investigation services in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado have seized about 25 kilos of cocaine in the provincial capital, Pemba, and have charged three Mozambican citizens with drug trafficking.
According to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", the three men, aged between 25 and 45, denied consciously trafficking in illicit drugs. They claimed that a Tanzanian asked them to transport the goods, but claimed the substances were innocuous.
"A Tanzanian, whom I have known for a long time, came to my house and asked me to unload powdered detergent on the Maringanha beach. He would pay me 5,000 meticais (about 89 US dollars at current exchange rates)", said one of the suspects. "I agreed because I'm a stevedore, and I needed the money. The merchandise was in a house, and I only loaded it into a minibus".
Later, he continued, the police came to his house, handcuffed him and took him into custody.
A second suspect also confessed to participating in transporting the merchandise, but only found it was drugs after his arrest.
"I was called as a sailor to take a boat to transport merchandise that was on board another vessel that couldn't reach the shore. They would pay me 50,000 meticais", he said. "I went there at 17.00 and by 20.00 I had finished. We took the product to Maringana neighbourhood and when we unloaded it, I left".
He said this was the second time he had taken part in such an operation, but insisted he had no idea of the true nature of "the product" or "the merchandise", which was contained in dozens of plastic bowls, which were then wrapped in sealed packages.
Sumail Sabila, a spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado branch of SERNIC, said that, in addition to the cocaine, a motorbike and an outboard motor for a boat used in the trafficking were also seized. The police do not yet know where the drug came from or its intended destination
Sabila said investigations are now under way to identify and arrest the leaders of the drug trafficking ring.