Case against alleged 'drug mule' crumbles

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HARARE – A medical technique conducted on a South African woman arrested following suspicion that she had ingested cocaine packs failed to discover any contraband, with the State altering her charges to defeating the course of justice.

Isaura Masinga, 40, of Germistone, South Africa, entered Zimbabwe on May 5 and was confined to police custody, charged with possession of cocaine.

Masinga went through a series of ultrasound and CT scans as the State sought to establish if she carried cocaine in her stomach.

An order was further passed for her bowl movements to be monitored and involved taking the suspected drug “swallower” to the lavatory and then sifting through her faeces in a bid to find small packets of swallowed cocaine.

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However, the State failed to establish if Masinga possessed the cocaine as no contraband emerged in her stool.

The State now claims she destroyed the evidence and changed the charges to defeating the course of justice.

Masinga appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande yesterday for trial on the new charge.

Isaac Taungwena, a detective at CID Drugs and Narcotics based at Harare International Airport, testified how he made the arrest.

“On May 5 this year, I received information that there was a suspected drug trafficker by the name Isaura Masinga who was coming from Brazil aboard United Arab Emirates,” Taungwena testified.

“Acting on the supplied information, I teamed up with my colleagues and intercepted the accused person in the arrival hall.

“We searched her luggage and person and nothing was recovered.

“The accused person was subsequently taken to CID Drugs and Narcotics offices for further management.

“Further investigations were conducted the following day by taking the accused person to Carestream Ultrasound Scan and the results revealed and confirmed the presence of ingested body packs in her abdomen.”

When Masinga appeared in court for the first time, she was represented by Nickiel Mushangwe who challenged his client’s placement on remand on the basis that she had been charged on allegations of possessing a substance that the State had failed to recover from her.

He slammed the State for relying on an ultrasound scan at a time his client was pregnant. He argued the scan may have picked the foetus.

Further scans showed that Masinga was not pregnant after all.

The trial continues today.

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