A 48-year old Eswatini truck driver was this week sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment by the Kasane Magistrate’s Court for illegal possession of heroin weighing 204.6kg.
The convict, Ledion Bong’Musa Masangane was reportedly on or about the 25th of April 2022 at or near Kazungula One Border in Chobe District caught trafficking the said substance into the country using an Isuzu Truck.
Masangane was reportedly arrested following a tip-off that a truck travelling from Zambia bound to South Africa via Botswana is suspected to be ferrying drugs. The truck is reported to have arrived in Botswana at 0820hrs and the police got up to conduct a full search on it.
They brought in a sniffer dog that found an interest between the head and the trailer of the truck where the police found a metal sheet that was affixed to the container with a bolt nut and another metal sheet that was affixed with pop rivets. They then snapped them out revealing the compartments.
The compartments are said to have contained 33 loose packets that were wrapped with cello-tape and other 165 similar packets in four sacks. The total number of packets was 198. The packets reportedly contained the total mass of the brownish substance weighing 204.6kg and the whitish crystalline substance weighing 24.9kg.
Before his sentencing, Masangane had pleaded with the court to be lenient with him as he is a first time offender and he is also a single parent to five children who are all dependent on him. He added that he has no family in Botswana and therefore would have no family support while he serves a sentence of imprisonment.
But when giving the sentence, Kasane Senior Magistrate Kose Makobo said the offence of trafficking drugs is a serious one therefore it cannot be minimised or downplayed in any way.
She stated that drug trafficking inevitably results in grave harm to others and courts should ensure that the sentences they pass have the requisite deterrent effect. Makobo said that the accused’s conduct thus warrants a lengthy sentence of imprisonment even though he is a first offender in a foreign country without any family support.
“The Isuzu Truck shall be detained for a period of 28 days, and if within such period no successful application is made under subsection (4) of the Act, it shall thereafter be forfeited to the state,” she concluded.