Police nail 3kg cocaine ‘mastermind’

By Codelia Mondela

Police have arrested a woman based in South Africa who allegedly sent a Bulawayo woman to collect 3,14kgs of cocaine with an estimated street value of $314 300 on her behalf last month.

Kwanele Sibanda (26) from Johannesburg allegedly contacted Tholiwe Sheron Tshuma (25) of Emganwini suburb to collect the drugs on her behalf while she was in South Africa. She was arrested on Friday, but it was not stated in court how that happened.

She was not asked to plead to charges of dealing in dangerous drugs before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Sheunesu Matova.

The magistrate advised her to look for a lawyer and remanded her in custody to May 28 saying the State had provided solid reasons to remand her in custody.

“For today, the State has managed to furnish me with compelling reasons to remand you in custody,” he said.

Prosecuting, Mr Tawurai Hondoyemoto opposed bail saying Sibanda could flee the country and abscond court as she had been using an expired passport in the neighbouring country.

“The accused person is a Zimbabwean who has been residing in South Africa for the past 10 years. Her Zimbabwean passport expired and she did not bother to renew it. The information at hand is that she came to the country by means of border jumping and she might not come to court as she managed to enter the country without proper documents,” he said.

Sibanda said she had a passport, but it had expired hence she intended to renew it in Harare.

“I have a passport though it has expired and it is not true that I have been in South Africa for 10 years. I have never seen the cocaine or dealt with it,’ she said.

The prosecutor said on April 11 this year, Sibanda contacted Tshuma who is already on remand and asked her to collect the cocaine on her behalf.

“Sibanda phoned Tshuma and told her to collect 3,143kg of cocaine from Bulawayo Post Office and forward it to South Africa where she would receive it,” the prosecutor said.

The court heard that Tshuma was stopped and searched by the detectives and was found in possession of cocaine weighing 3,143kg with a street value of $314 300.

Tshuma will be back in court on June 1.

Her lawyer Ms Taboka Nyathi of Makiya and Partners said Tshuma was not aware that the parcel contained cocaine and was only told that she was supposed to receive fabrics and forward them to South Africa hence she submitted her details. The Chronicle