Cocaine 'trafficker' denied bail

HARARE - A Zimbabwean woman, Beauty Mutashu — who was busted at Harare International Airport hiding 3,8kg of cocaine in her luggage — was yesterday denied bail after the court noted she was a flight risk.

If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in jail.

The 32-year-old, who confessed to being a sex worker, appeared before Harare magistrate Barbra Chimboza charged with possessing cocaine.

She told the court that she was sent by a lady, she referred to as Mildred, to collect the bag in Brazil, unaware that there was cocaine in the luggage.

Chimboza queried why the alleged Mildred had to send Mutashu all the way to Brazil to collect a single bag on her behalf.

Prosecutor Sabastian Mutizirwa said the State had overwhelming evidence against Mutashu because she had been caught red-handed in possession of the cocaine.

“It is not in the best interests of justice to grant bail where there is overwhelming evidence against an accused person. The fact that she was actually caught in possession of the cocaine tears away the presumption of innocence, leaving the accused person exposed,” Mutizirwa said.

“ . . . the cocaine was quite a substantial amount of 3,8kg and clearly shows that it was for dealing, hence the accused person is motivated to flee from trial. The court should also not lose sight of the fact that accused person is of no fixed abode”.

Mutashu then tendered a Waterfalls address in response to Mutizirwa’s submission that she had no known place of residence.

“The accused person must not mislead the court with the address she just tendered. Investigating officers found that her last residence in Zimbabwe was at a lodge and before that she also resided at a lodge in South Africa,” responded Mutizirwa.

However, Mutashu told the court that she had lived at the lodges while performing commercial sex work but her family and property was in Waterfalls, Harare.

Mutizirwa alleged that on May 12 this year, detectives from Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Drugs and Narcotics stationed at Harare International Airport were tipped that Mutashu was coming from Brazil abode an Emirates flight.

It was alleged that when the plane landed, Mutashu proceeded to the Immigration Hall for clearance before tendering her Zimbabwean passport number BN816287 to an immigration officer who immediately identified her and directed her to the detectives for monitoring.

The court heard that she was carrying two bags which were searched in her presence and 11 new shirts each wrapping a silver rectangle aluminium foil containing suspected cocaine were recovered in her bag.

It was alleged that the shirts were packed among several other clothing

The recovered cocaine’s recorded weight was 3,8kg with a value of $304 000.

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