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Cocaine trial resumes today

Jun 30, 2010, 1:29 PM

The trial of 12 foreign nationals reportedly arrested with hard drugs in The Gambia recently is expected to resume today, at the special narcotics court of the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

The accused persons are Memunatu Sesay, a Nigerian/Sierra Leonean national, Fernando Varela, a Cape Verde/Dutch national, Barset Goodwin, a Ghanaian/Sierra Leonean, Ephraim Micheal Chiduben, a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Juan Carlos Diaz, Louis Dose Fermin and Esteaban Zavala, all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez, a Mexican/Liberian national, as well as Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter, both Dutch nationals.

They are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy to commit an offence; dealing in prohibited drugs for the purpose of supply by retail or wholesale, and the transport and/or transfer; and possession of prohibited drugs for the purpose of drug trafficking.

The 12, who were earlier arraigned, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the charge sheet that accompanied the accused persons to court, on or about 12th May 2010, within the jurisdiction of the Republic of The Gambia, the accused had in their possession three parcels of cocaine, a prohibited drug, weighing 3 kg 360g, for the purpose of trafficking.

This paper, it would be recalled, reported that the first suspects were arrested on 12th May 2010 in connection with 3 kilos 360g of cocaine.

The initial arrests led the investigators to discover and seize 2 tonnes, 340kg and 860 grams of cocaine in a warehouse located in Bonto village in the Kombo East district of the Western Region.

However, an extra bag containing some 25kg of cocaine was also found at the same place, some days later when a GRTS television crew returned to the place with NDEA officials to take shots of the bunker at the warehouse, in which the cocaine was reportedly hidden.

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