$314 000 drugs mule not guilty

By Yemurai Ushamba

A Bulawayo woman who was arrested after being found in possession of 3,14 kgs of cocaine with an estimated street value of $314 300 in April was acquitted yesterday.

Sheron Tholiwe Tshuma
Sheron Tholiwe Tshuma

Sheron Tholiwe Tshuma (25) from Emganwini suburb was facing charges of dealing in dangerous drugs (cocaine) when she appeared before regional magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere.

Tshuma who recently returned home from South Africa is alleged to have been told to collect a parcel by someone in the neighbouring country that had been sent from India.

The woman was represented by Ms Taboka Nyathi of Makiya and Partners who said Tshuma was not aware that the parcel contained cocaine as she had only been told that she was supposed to receive fabrics and forward them to South-Africa, hence she submitted her details.

In acquitting Tshuma, the magistrate ruled that the state had failed to prove that the accused had knowledge of what was contained in the parcel.

“The accused was found in possession of the drugs but that does not mean she was aware of what was contained in the package. State witnesses have failed to prove that the accused had the knowledge and intention to receive dangerous drugs. The legal meaning of possession implies knowledge and intention to possess and the police failed to take account of that,” said Mr Mberewere.

“The evidence of the WhatsApp text messages that have been produced show that the accused did not know what was in the package.

“The State does not have proof that the accused had knowledge of what was contained in the parcel. Accordingly, I will therefore return a verdict of not guilty and the accused person is acquitted.”

Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said Tshuma was arrested on April 11 at Zimpost at the corner of Fort Street and 8th Avenue.

“The accused person was stopped and searched by the detectives and was found in possession of cocaine weighing 3,143 kgs with street value of $314 300,” he said.

“The accused person is a Zimbabwean who has been residing in South Africa for the past 10 years. Her Zimbabwean passport expired and she did not bother to renew it.

“The information at hand is that she came to the country by means of border jumping and she might not come to court as she managed to enter the country without proper documents.” The Chronicle