The cocaine suspects
Three of the five suspects arrested in Sekondi in the Western Region in connection with the importation of 400 kilograms of cocaine worth $50 million from British Guyana, using a semi-submarine vessel called Atiyah Ex Alisam, were yesterday jailed 34 years by an Accra High Court.
This was after Justice C.K. Honyenugah, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, had given judgment in the case. He said the suspects, Samuel Monty, Percival Junior Curt and Singh Primchand, were guilty of the offence for which they were arraigned.
They had been charged with engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit offence by engaging in business relating to narcotic drugs, importation of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.
Monty and Junior Curt were each given 12 years for each offence which would run concurrently, while Singh would spend the next 10 years behind bars.
It would be recalled that the captain of the crew, Miller Ronald O’Neil, was sentenced to 20 years after he had pleaded guilty to the charges while Seth Grant, their Ghanaian accomplice and crew member, was handed a 15-year sentence.
The trial judge said from the evidence so far, he found out that they had conspired to import the said cocaine into the country.
According to him, the state had been able to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt by assembling credible witnesses and noted that the court did not find the evidence of the suspects credible and consequently had them sentenced.
During their first appearance the crew captain, Percival Junior Curt, who had pleaded guilty with explanation, was the first to mount the witness box and told the court that they had been assigned by two men – one of who was a Nigerian – to meet some persons at the high seas and bring cocaine to someone in Ghana.
According to him, they set off from British Guyana and met two men in the said boat at the high seas which was carrying the substance, adding that it was offloaded into their vessel after they had inspected it.
He said he and his crew brought the drugs to Ghana and while on the country’s territorial waters, they were informed that the Ghana Navy had gotten wind of their presence and was on their way.
The suspect said the Navy arrived and after some interrogation, they were arrested and arraigned before court.
Samuel Monty and Singh Primchand, who also pleaded guilty with explanation, repeated what their captain had told the court.
Miller Ronald O’Neil and Seth Grant had earlier pleaded guilty simplicita and said they were placing themselves at the mercy of the court.
The trial judge said once the suspects had admitted knowledge of the substance, their narration could not be said to have amounted to being not guilty.
Seth Grant, a Ghanaian, Samuel Monty, an Australian and Singh Primchand, a Guyanese, all said they were guilty with explanation.
By Fidelia Achama
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