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Defence continues in cocaine 9 trial

Aug 8, 2011, 1:20 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

George Sanchez, the fifth accused person in the multi-million dollar cocaine trial involving nine foreign nationals, Thursday opened his defence at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

In his defence, Sanchez told the court that he is a fisherman by profession, and came to The Gambia on 5th May 2010, at the invitation of one Sierra Leonean lady called Cate, whom he met in Ghana.

He said that he was arrested by the NDEA officers on 13 May 2010 at Holgam Fishing Company, while he was waiting the 1st accused person.

Still testifying, Sanchez said he led the officers to the guesthouse where he was residing, where they conducted a search of the room, but nothing was found, except his travel documents.

“I was then taken to CTI, where I met the other accused persons,” he added.

“At CTI they removed my glass and my hands were cuffed behind.  I was asked what brought me to Holgam. I was further asked where we hid the cocaine,” he told the court.

He added that he was threatened by being told that if he did not disclose the place where they hid the cocaine, they would put a nylon bag over his head, and beating would commence.

He told the court that after further threats, he was afraid and he told them that he went to Holgam to collect 1kg?

“I was asked to kneel down until I am willing to give a statement, adding that he later gave a statement at the CTI.

The witness denied that he had ever been to Bonto, and further denied all the charges against him.

The case continues.    

The nine accused persons are: Ephriam Micheal Chiduben a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz, 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 all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to traffic in prohibited drugs, trafficking in drugs, dealing in prohibited drugs, having firearm without authority, importation of firearm without authority, among others.

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