Zimbabwe News

Drug smuggler walks away from police

Despite the vigilant presence of numerous security officials, a suspected drug dealer intercepted at Beitbridge Border Post managed to evade capture after being found with marijuana and prohibited cough syrups.

The Southern Eye reports that Zimbabwe’s security officials, infamous for soliciting bribes from ordinary travellers, cross-border transporters, bus operators, and shipping agents, have been unable to explain the suspect’s disappearance.

This incident occurred last Thursday, and certain stakeholders speculate that the suspect may have bribed the security officers to regain his freedom.

The acting commanding officer of Beitbridge police district Superintendent Philisani Ndebele told Southern Eye last week that “The driver disappeared from the scene”.

However, some stakeholders in Beitbridge said the incident exposed widespread corruption involving police officers, customs and excise officers, private security guards and officers from the President’s Department at the border post. One Beitbridge resident was quoted as saying:

There are two explanations, that the officers are at the border for something else rather than the country’s security or they colluded with the suspect.

Ask anyone, there is a heavy presence of security officers from different departments whose sole purpose is to check and arrest smuggling and illegal movement of people across the border. How do you explain that a suspect simply walks away?

Eyewitnesses told Southern Eye that the vehicle, a Toyota Quantum minibus headed for Bulawayo, was stopped for a routine check-up in the “Malume” section of the border which handles small-scale cross-border transporters.

The keen noses of sniffer dogs exposed the suspect, prompting customs and excise officials to focus on inspecting the vehicle’s trailer. Simultaneously, the driver and his crew made a hasty exit.

Inside the vehicle, authorities discovered prohibited Benylin cough syrups containing codeine, which are illicitly traded on the drug market. Additionally, the vehicle carried approximately 24 kilogrammes of mbanje.

Investigations by Southern Eye established that the same vehicle was intercepted recently with at least 74 kilogrammes of dagga. Said an eyewitness:

He simply walked away after realising something was wrong. Proper handling of the case should have had the driver secured and a search of his vehicle done in his presence.

How do officials explain his disappearance when they are employed to secure such people? What is their purpose?

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) later issued a statement confirming the interception of the contraband but did not mention any arrests.

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