Heroin dealer jailed 15 years

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

AN Indian drug dealer who was caught with 7,9kg of heroin at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, with the intention of smuggling it out of the country, has been sentenced to an effective 15 years in jail.

Gowda Nabin Chandra (56) was convicted of unlawful possession of dangerous drugs by Harare regional magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei after a full trial.

He was slapped with an additional fine of US$5 000 or five years in jail if he fails to pay.

Prosecutor, Mr Oscar Madhume proved that on October 23, 2022, at around 2.25pm, Chandra proceeded to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, intending to leave the country on an Ethiopian Airlines flight bound for Addis Ababa, en-route to India.

He had passenger baggage comprising two bags.

Whilst at the airport, Chandra completed all check-in formalities with Ethiopian Airlines and handed over his two bags for loading on to the aircraft.

The bags were endorsed with name-tags bearing his name for identification.

He underwent all the customs and immigration formalities.

Chandra declared to the airline and customs officials that his baggage only contained clothing.

However, his navy-blue bag was intercepted at the airport screening point by the Airport Aviation Security after it was noticed that it had suspicious contents.

Chandra was summoned to the scanner and questioned over the contents of his bag, but maintained that it was his personal clothing.

The navy-blue suitcase was opened and searched in his presence, leading to the recovery and seizure of four transparent brownish packets containing prepared opium, also known as heroin, which was stuffed with glue in the lining of the travelling bag on the bottom sides.

A preliminary field test was carried out on the seized substances and they tested positive to heroin.

Chandra was subsequently arrested and it was established that he had an Indian passport bearing passport number Z3626469 and boarding passes to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia enroute to India on an Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The seized heroin was sent to the Zimbabwe Republic Police forensic science laboratory for scientific examination where it was confirmed that it’s opium or heroin.

The heroin was weighed and it recorded 7,955 kg.

During the trial, Chandra denied the allegations arguing he didn’t know the owner of the bag and that it had drugs inside.

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