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Cocaine smuggler pleads for forgiveness

By Fungai Lupande

A South African woman convicted of importing more than 2kg of cocaine using envelopes glued on textbook covers yesterday pleaded for forgiveness.

Ncombo Theodorah Tobeka
Ncombo Theodorah Tobeka

Ncombo Theodorah Tobeka (48) of Qweqwe location, Umtata, Eastern Cape in South Africa, was arrested at the Harare International Airport while on her way from Columbia. She pleaded guilty to charges of contravening the Criminal Codification and Reform Act as read with the Dangerous Drugs Act Chapter 15.02.

Tobeka submitted her special circumstances yesterday before Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei. She asked for forgiveness and indicated that it was her first time committing the offence.

“I am so sorry, I was not aware that this offence has penal provisions,” she pleaded. Penal provisions of cocaine is a jail term of 15 to 20 years depending on circumstances and a magistrate can only impose a lesser sentence if special circumstances are found.

Mr Ndirowei will deliver his judgment today.

Prosecutor Ms Sharon Mashavira told the court that on December 18 last year, detectives from CID Drugs Squad Harare deployed at the Harare International Airport were tipped that Tobeka was coming to Zimbabwe in possession of dangerous drugs.

On that day, Tobeka came from Columbia aboard Ethiopian Airlines landing at 12:45pm. Detectives liaised with immigration officers for the identity of Tobeka and at 1:50pm the plane landed. Tobeka was identified when she presented her South African passport to an immigration official for clearance.

Detectives were alerted and started monitoring her from immigration cubicles. Tobeka was intercepted on her way out of the cubicle heading out of the airport.

She was searched and four textbooks were discovered in her black suitcase, each containing two plastic envelopes glued to both side covers containing cocaine. The eight envelopes were weighed in Tobeka’s presence and recorded 2,108kg. The contents tested positive for cocaine.

The substance was later referred to the Forensic Science Laboratory and it was confirmed to be cocaine. The Herald