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DW2 testifies in cocaine 9 trial

Aug 9, 2011, 12:58 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The second defence witness (DW2), Juan Carlos Sanchez, yesterday testified in his defence in the multi-million dollar cocaine trial involving nine foreign nationals at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

Sanchez adduced that he is a Venezuela national, and had spent 14 months in The Gambia before his arrest on 13 May 2011, at Coco Ocean Hotel by the NDEA officers, adding that he is currently residing at Mile 2 prison.

“I was taken to my house at Kotu, while my partner was away. The officers broke into the house and they searched the house, but nothing was found, DW2 told the court.

“I was later taken to CTI, where I met the 8th accused person and I was asked whether I knew the 8th accused, and I responded in the negative,” he added.

He added that he his legs were shackled, and he was tied against a big log and they began to lift him up and down, stating that he was severely torture.

Under cross-examination, Sanchez told the court that he did not have any friend called Mario, adding that he was residing at Baobab Island near Bonto village.

He further stated that the 3rd, 6th and 7th accused persons came to The Gambia through him (the witness), admitting that he has no authority to be in possession of firearms, and he had no licence to possess firearms.

He also admitted that the land where the warehouse was built belonged to him and Mr Gazi, adding that it was given to them by the Alkalo of Bonto.

He added that he never informed the Alkalo about the existence of the bunker, as he was not aware of the construction of the bunker.

Hearing 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.