An Accra Fast Track High Court on Tuesday jailed two Venezuelans over 588 kilogrammes of cocaine seized from a house at Mepeasem, East Legon in Accra.
This was after the court found them guilty of conspiracy to commit crime, importing 588 kilograms of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.
They had pleaded not guilty.
Joel Meija Duarte Moises, a 35-year-old machine operator was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment with hard labour while Italio Gervasio Rosero a.k.a. Italio Cabeza Castillo, 38, a businessman was sentenced to 20 years.
They have each served two years of the sentences already as they take effect from the day of their arrest, November 24, 2005.
A third Venezuelan, Vasquez Gerado Duarte David, a.k.a. Bude or Shamo and boyfriend of Miss Grace Asibi is at large whom the court described at the mastermind was sentenced to 25 years in absentia. He was found guilty on the same charges.
The court in April this year after admitting the 12 boxes of cocaine in evidence ordered its destruction at the Independence Square.
The court further ordered that the convicts, after serving their respective sentences should be deported to their home country.
Rosero’s passport, which was missing during his arrest but resurfaced during the trial should be handed over to him after serving his sentence.
Handing down the sentences the court, presided over by Mr Justice E.K Ayebi said the country has been saddled with news on drugs, noting that the nation, was becoming a distribution point.
He ordered the destruction of other exhibits such as gloves, brown cellotape and a machine used in compressing or cracking cocaine, among others, in the presence of the court’s registry and security personnel.
Two mobile phones also retrieved from the convicts at the Mepasem house, should be confiscated to the state.
Praying for mitigation, Mr. Kwablah Senanu, defence counsel said the accused were family men with children between the ages of four and 13 years.
According to Mr Senanu, Moises had been threatened with divorce and prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.
Prosecuting Ms. Gertrude Aikins, acting Director for Public Prosecution drew the attention of the court to the drug menace in the country and charges levelled against the accused persons.
The court described Vasques as a mastermind in the drugs business and owner of the drugs.
It further described Moises as the one who packaged the drugs because he had it in his possession and controlled the drugs.
According to the court, all the items used for processing the drugs were found in Moises’s bedroom saying that Moises, during his arrest demonstrated to the police how the machine was used.
It further noted that Moises also failed to tell police where keys of two rooms containing the drugs were.
“It was after the Police had searched his room that they came across a bunch of keys which incidentally opened the said room which led to the discovery of more boxes of cocaine and Moises directed the police not to mix the drugs with water,” the court said.
The court said since Ghana did not produce the coca plant, the three accused persons managed to conspire and import the substances into the country.
The court was of the view that Moises was not a guest in the Mepeasem house but a tenant who rented the place at a cost of 1,000 US dollars a month and therefore not a witness of truth and not worthy of the truth.
The court also found out that Moises has been in the country successfully learning the Twi language and he had books which indicated the sales and purchase of the drugs in Spanish.
According to the court it was Grace Asibi who rented the place out to him, saying that, “he stated during his arrest that that was his first time in the country but has been in the country seven times and departed only twice”.
In the case of Castillo, the court noted he joined the business not long ago and he was never a tourist because he did not visit any tourist attraction site in the country.
The two convicts have known themselves and were communicating on cell phones since their cell numbers were found on each other’s phones.
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