Tanzanian woman gets 15 years in Zim jail for smuggling heroin
2012 August 09 08:21:23 | 2323 Views
A Tanzanian woman, Fatima Musa Saguti will spend 15 years in jail for attempting to smuggle 6,9kg of heroin with a street value of over US$200 000.
Saguti was nabbed at the Harare International Airport before boarding a Kenyan Airways flight destined for Ghana on June 27.
The heroin was valued at US$207 000.
Saguti denied the charge of unlawfully dealing in dangerous drugs when her trial opened before Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe.
She claimed that her fianceâ€™s Zambian friend had given her the suitcase containing the dangerous drug to take to Ghana to his fiancÃ©e and was not aware of the contents.
After a fully contested trial, the court convicted Saguti of the offence in aggravating circumstances due to overwhelming evidence.
In Zimbabwe, crimes involving such drugs attract a mandatory sentence of not less than 15 years.
In passing sentence, Mr Mahwe noted that Saguti was part of a syndicate of drug traffickers, considering that the heroin was brought from Zambia.
He said she committed a very serious offence and in the absence of special circumstances, the offence attracts a mandatory sentence of not less than 15 years.
â€œThe accused said she was sent with the suitcase by someone, surprisingly she did not check the contents to see if they tallied with the weight,â€ said Mr Mahwe.
â€œShe said she was in Zimbabwe for five days but failed to tell the court where she was residing. She said she came into the country to look for her customer since she is in the business of buying and selling red-bull (an energy drink) but she also failed to reveal the identity of the said customer.
â€œWith this conduct, the accused knew what she was doing and there are no special circumstances to warrant the court to disregard the mandatory sentence in her case,â€ he said.
Prosecutor Ms Memory Mukapa had earlier urged the court to impose a mandatory sentence on the basis that the way the offence was committed.
She said it was a well-planned crime.
Ms Mukapa said if it was not for the detecting machine at the airport, Saguti could have escaped unnoticed.
The prosecutor further told the court that Sagutiâ€™s passport showed that she was using the Zambia-Zimbabwe-Tanzania route frequently.
On June 27, Saguti, who intended to travel to Ghana, arrived at the Harare International Airport and went to the check-in point and surrendered her grey suitcase for scanning.
As her suitcase was being scanned, airport security officials discovered that it contained a suspicious substance and called police detectives for verification. Saguti was picked by the detectives and a physical check was carried out on her person and the suitcase, leading to the recovery of four plastic sachets stashed into an improvised hidden compartment in the suitcase.
The sachets contained some cream substances and were wrapped with khaki tape.
Saguti was subsequently arrested and confirmed that she was delivering the drugs to Ghana. The cream substance was sent to a forensic lab for examination and it was discovered that it was heroin. Heroin belongs to a group of pain-relieving drugs called narcotics. It is an illegal narcotic because it is has dangerous side effects and is very addictive.
Heroin is usually injected or smoked. Purer forms of heroin are inhaled. It is a very addictive drug and many people find it extremely difficult to stop using it - even after using heroin for just the first or second time.
Heroin users constantly crave their next dose. If heroin addicts suddenly try to stop using the drug or are unable to get another dose, they often develop withdrawal symptoms, like feelings of panic, sleeplessness, bad chills and sweats, muscle pain, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
If you take an overdose of heroin, it can impair breathing and kill.
Drugs Fatima Musa heroin
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