Drugs Suspect Back in Court

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Paulo Bruno Da Silva, arrested last month in connection with a drug trafficking operation that went horribly wrong appeared in court again yesterday. The botched drug deal claimed the life of his wife, who died after a cocaine pellet burst in her stomach. In the brief court appearance before Magistrate Helvi Shilemba, the Angolan who was married to a Namibian looked calm as his case was remanded to June 30, when he will be asked to make a plea to the charges of drug trafficking and murder. The murder charge against the 29-year-old suspect stems from an incident in which his wife Darlin Da Silva (26) died when the substance burst inside her stomach while allegedly being used as a drug mule to smuggle the highly addictive white substance into Namibia. Slysken Makando from the law firm Conradie and Damaseb represented the Angolan who stands accused of trafficking narcotics and murder. Police reports indicate that Da Silva at the time of her death had an estimated 410 grams of cocaine in her stomach. Unlike at the first appearance, Court B in which the case was heard was not as packed and it only had a few curious onlookers who wanted to have a closer look at the suspect. During the brief court session, the suspect said that he did not intend to plead guilty to the two serious charges being levelled against him. He however indicated to the court that he would plead not guilty when his case resumes at the end of next month. Therefore, for the purpose of the plea, the case was then remanded to June 30, 2006, while police continue with investigations. Public Prosecutor Hitjevi Tjiroze handled the prosecution case yesterday. Da Silva is currently being held in police custody at the Windhoek Central Prison with no bail granted until his third court appearance in June. The death of the young woman last month shocked relatives and friends alike after it emerged that she had carried 31 pellets of cocaine with a street value of N$205 000 in her stomach. The suspect himself also carried narcotic drugs to the value of N$87 500, bringing the total value of the seized contraband to N$292 500. According to the Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Namibian Police, more unsuspecting Namibian women were getting involved in drug trafficking. A record number of cases were noted last year, involving drugs with a street value of N$5 million. The seized drugs include cannabis, ecstasy, mandrax, cocaine, heroin, and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). Drugs are mostly coming into Namibia from neighbouring countries like South Africa, Angola and Zambia. Some drugs are also coming from South American countries like Brazil, Columbia, Peru and also from some European and Asian countries as reported by the Namibian Police.

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