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Zimbabwean drug mule recalls the two years she spent in Indian prison

A former Zimbabwean drug mule who was arrested in India in 2015 after being caught with US$1.4 million of a prohibited drug called ephedrine has opened up on the two years she spent in jail over there calling it a “death sentence for me.”

Cynthia Mpunga, 42, spoke to News24 telling their Zimbabwean journalist Lenin Ndebele; “Two years was like a death sentence for me, but when I got into prison, I saw life differently.

“I took up jobs while inside. I used to clean, and with basic sewing experience, I also did some work with fabrics.

“Like other prisoners doing jobs, I earned a decent stipend. That money was deposited into our accounts monthly. One could withdraw and buy whatever you desired to use after your jail time,” she said.

Despite moving contraband worth US$1.4 million, Mpunga’s commission would have been US$450 had she succeeded including accommodation, flights, food and other benefits.

“My family back home was worried. They thought I was held in a dungeon where, probably, there was no one I could speak to in English [while] living in a confined cell. All the scary things you can imagine were on their minds.

She explained how she was recruited into the drug mule trade by a South African woman she could not name for security reasons.

“The money was good, and the more jobs, the better, but one forgets that it’s a red flag. Like they say, high risks, high returns. That’s what was on my mind.

“You hide such things from your husband or loved ones. They shouldn’t even see your passport, and when travelling, you don’t disclose [things],” she added.

Her arrest at Cochin International Airport in the city of Kochi was the second time she had been detained for a drug offence in the same year.

The first time was earlier in the year in Botswana at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport where she had arrived in Gaborone from all of places India again, via Kenya.

“My luggage was 20kg of an illicit substance. I spent two months in jail there and later paid a P10 000 fine, and I was released.

Authorities in Botswana banned Mpunga from entering the country for 10 years.

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