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Defence opens in cocaine 9 trial

Aug 3, 2011, 1:40 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The defence opened its case yesterday in the multi-million dollar cocaine trial involving nine foreign nationals at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Taiwo Alagba.

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 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.

In his defence, Ruudy Rasoud Hamid Gazi, the 1st accused person, told the court that he is a businessman who traded in marine or sea foods.

He said he is currently being detained at the central prison Mile 2, but before that he was residing at Latrikunda and has spent 16 to18 years living in The Gambia, and is married to a Gambian lady.

He denied ever venturing into the cocaine business in his life, adding that on 13 May 2010 he was arrested at Holgam Factory by members of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) and taken to the NDEA office.

“I was asked whether I knew the 9th, 6th, 3rd, 5th and 4th accused persons. I told them that the 4th accused was helping me in the factory to maintain EU standards. We were later taken to CTI,” he added.

He said at CTI, they were placed in a big dark hall, and he was later taken to the back of the hall.

“They put a plastic bag over my head and one of the officers put his hand on my mouth. They started beating me, and asking me: “Where did you hide your cocaine?”, as they were beating me,” Gazi told the court.

He added that he was taken back inside the hall, while still being asked about the cocaine. One of the NDEA officers removed his glasses and put his finger in his eye,” he said, adding that he was later asked about Mr Brown, but said he had no idea about him.

DW1 said he was told that one Mr John said he came to collect 1kg of cocaine from him, which he disputed, adding that he was later taken to the NIA office in Banjul.

He added that the land he acquired was from the alkalo of Bonto, on which he constructed a building half way, and then sold it.

Gazi added that the warehouse was meant for fishing gear.

The case continues today.