Bongani Ndlovu, Online Reporter
A drug dealer has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after she was found guilty of smuggling cocaine worth $7 million into Zimbabwe.
Sheila Khumalo, a South African aged 50, will serve an effective ten years in prison, after Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi suspended two years on condition of good behaviour.
It is said she fainted in court when the magistrate handed down her sentence.
Khumalo, was arrested in May this year at the Robert Mugabe International Airport trying to smuggle 60 sachets of the contraband. It is said Khumalo had swallowed the sachets and it was reported at that time that Khumalo excreted 58 sachets of the drug while in police custody.
The court heard that on May 9, information was received to the effect that Sheila Khumalo was coming to Zimbabwe from Brazil with cocaine aboard an Ethiopian airways flight and was expected to arrive at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe international airport.
Acting on the information, on May 10, a team of detectives from CID drugs and narcotics Harare, operatives from the Central Intelligence Organisation and personnel from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority manned the arrival section at the airport and intercepted Khumalo.
A search was conducted on Khumalo’s luggage and on her person, leading to the recovery of 53 small white sachets with whitish powder stashed in a pair of black socks and also in her undergarments.
The seized cocaine has the approximate mass of 975 grams with a total value of ZWL$7 800 000.
During her appearance in court, it is reported that Khumalo said that the drugs she was found in possession of were for her own use and she was in transit to her home in South Africa.
Khumalo denied ever dealing in drugs and told the court that she never met or interacted with anyone in Zimbabwe other than the arresting details, denied having connections in Zimbabwe and that there is no third party or second person that she got into contact with in Zimbabwe.
Khumalo said she never sold any drugs here in Zimbabwe as she is not in the business of selling and buying drugs, denied importing drugs into Zimbabwe as an import is only complete upon reaching the port of destination.
Khumalo is allegedly linked to a serious drug syndicate and most of the syndicate members are still at large and yet to be accounted for.
She becomes the fourth foreigner to be arrested for the same crime in a space of about one month. In April, this year a 22-year-old man from Brazil was arrested while attempting to smuggle into the country 4,30 kilogrammes of cocaine with a street value of ZWL$32 million dollars.