HARARE - A South African woman who was nabbed at the Harare International Airport trying to smuggle more than 2kg of cocaine will spend the next 15 years in a Zimbabwean prison.
Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei yesterday sentenced Ncombo Theodorah Tobeka, 48, of Qweqwe location in Umtata, Eastern Cape in South Africa to an effective 15 years in jail.
She was convicted on her own plea of guilty to contravening the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act as read with the Dangerous Drugs Act Chapter 15.02.
Magistrate Ndirowei said there were no special circumstances and therefore the court was limited to a penal provision for cocaine.
The penal provision of cocaine trafficking entail a jail term of 15 to 20 years depending on circumstances. A magistrate can only impose a lesser sentence if special circumstances are found.
Tobeka had initially submitted special circumstances before the magistrate indicating that it was her first time to commit the offence.
She was arrested at the Harare International Airport while on her way from Columbia after detectives found her in possession of 2,108kg cocaine packed in envelopes glued on textbook covers.
Prosecutor Sharon Mashavira proved that on December 18 last year, detectives from CID Drugs Squad stationed at the Harare International Airport were tipped that Tobeka was trying to smuggle cocaine into Zimbabwe.
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.
She was identified when presenting her South African passport for clearance to an immigration official.
Detectives were alerted and started monitoring her movements before intercepting her on her way out of the airport.
Tobeka 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 her presence and tested positive for cocaine.
The substance was later referred to the Forensic Science Laboratory and it was confirmed to be cocaine.