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Three Foreign Nationals Arrested While Attempting To Smuggle Heroin To India

Zimbabwe arrested three foreign nationals between September and November while trying to smuggle heroin to India with a combined street value running into millions of dollars.

The government has attributed the arrests to vigilance and increased surveillance by the country’s security agents.

Vitalis Kudrjasovs (27) who had a Latvian passport, was arrested on September 8 at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare following a tip-off.

He was in possession of heroin which he intended to smuggle to India, according to the Chronicle.

Security details observed him as he went through check-in, immigration and customs formalities and he was arrested as he was about to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight en route to India.

His luggage was put in a security scanner leading to the discovery of the suspicious package. A further search led to the recovery of heroin with a street value of ZW$ 6.96 million which was concealed in the lining of his bag.

Kudrjasovs has since appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court on charges of dealing in dangerous drugs and was remanded in custody until Thursday 17 November for trial.

In another case, Shaik Zeenat Khatoon Rafiq (43) of Mumbai in India was arrested on October 1 by detectives at the Victoria Falls Airport for attempting to smuggle heroin with a street value of US$500 000.

She intended to board an Ethiopian Airline to Addis Ababa en route to India. Rafiq was found with heroin stuffed in the lining of her travelling bag at the airport’s scanning point.

During the same month, Ronald Florentius Paes (66) was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport after he was found with heroin with a street value of  ZW $5.84 million which he intended to smuggle to India.

The police intercepted Paes after he had gone through all the check-in formalities. He was arrested when he was about to have his luggage loaded onto the plane.

The detectives took his bags to the scanners and it was discovered that they contained suspicious contents, which were tested and it was discovered that it was heroin. Paes had boarding passes to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia en route to India on Ethiopian Airlines.

It has been established that most drug traffickers come from West Africa, South America and the Middle East and use Zimbabwe as a transit route.

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