Indian tourist nabbed at airport with 9kg of heroin in suitcase


An Indian tourist who was found with a huge stash of heroin in her luggage at the Victoria Falls International Airport at the weekend has been remanded in custody to October 17 for trial.

Shaikh Zeenat Khatoon Rafiq (43) from Mumbai appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Godswill Mavenge charged with unlawful dealing in dangerous drugs after she was found with 9.2 kilogrammes of heroin on Saturday.

Rafiq denied the charges.

Prosecutors said the drugs were valued at $476 840 000.

Rafiq was arrested as she was doing check-in to board an Ethiopian Airways flight en-route to Addis Ababa before proceeding to India.

Detectives from the drugs and narcotics allegedly received information to the effect that Khatoon was in possession of drugs and they pursued the lead.

At the airport, the detectives observed Khatoon’s movements as she entered the departure gate carrying a silver travelling bag and a small navy blue bag.

As she went through all security checks, detectives who were scanning luggage detected that one of her bags had suspicious contents and this prompted them to invite her to the scanning point for further searches.

“The silver travelling bag was opened in the presence of the accused, leading to the recovery and seizure of prepared opium, which was precisely stuffed in the bottom lining of the travelling bag,” the court record read.

“The accused was arrested and it was established that she had an Indian passport and a ticket to Addis Ababa, en route to India.”

Police said Rafiq’s travel records showed that she arrived in the country through the same airport on September 20 and checked at a local lodge (name withheld) until October 1.

Khatoon told the detectives that the luggage was given to her by an unknown female black person.

She claimed she was linked to the woman by an online agent that she met on the internet to take the bag on her behalf.

A field test was conducted and the results showed that the drugs were heroin.

Prosecutors opposed bail saying Khatoon was a flight risk.

They also feared that she will interfere with evidence, abscond court or commit other offences judging by the nature of her charge.

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