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Nigerian Pastor Caught With Cocaine In Vic Falls

A NIGERIAN PASTOR was detained at Victoria Falls International Airport with more than two kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $126 752 000, concealed inside hats and jackets.

Desmond Onyii Onuoha (46) of Ruwa Paschoal 484 590 Paulo-Brazil or Number 22 Samuel Eknola Street in Lagos, Nigeria.

Following his arrest on October 23rd, he appeared before regional magistrate Mr Collet Ncube on drug trafficking and possession charges, The Chronicle reports.

According to the court, on 22 October 2022, detectives from the Drugs and Narcotics Victoria Falls received information that Onuoha was travelling from Brazil via Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia onboard an Ethiopian Airways ET0829 with a Nigerian passport number B50060514 and was suspected of bringing drugs with him to Victoria Falls.

The next day, around 11.30 a.m., a team of detectives went to Victoria Falls International Airport and obtained a passenger manifest for the incoming planes, confirming that Onuoha was on the list. Around 12.30pm, the detectives recognized Onuoha and observed him as he checked in. He checked in with passport number G0559957 from Ghana. He was apprehended by detectives and taken to the Victoria Falls Police Station.

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A thorough search was conducted resulting in the recovery of white gel substance wrapped in cellotapes which was stashed in the linings of hats and jackets. A preliminary drug test conducted in Onuoha’s presence tested positive for cocaine leading to his arrest. The recovered drugs were taken to Victoria Falls Post Office where they were weighed in the presence of accused.

The total weight was 2 330 grammes with a street value of $126 752 000.

Onuoha who is being represented by a Mrs Khumalo of Ncube and Partners denied the charge arguing that he did not know the contents of the bag found with the cocaine but had been asked to drop it in Victoria Falls by one of his congregants. Taking the witness stand during the opening of the defence case, Onuoha claimed he was married to a Zimbabwean woman and had come into the country to pay lobola for her.

“I’m a pastor in Nigeria and so I announced in church that I was travelling to Zimbabwe to see my mother-in-law for paying lobola in Bulawayo. I have been legally married to her since February of this year. One of my congregants then approached me and asked me to drop a bag for someone at Victoria Falls Airport since I had indicated that I would pass through there to see a friend. I don’t know anything about the bag especially its contents let alone the mentioned drugs. I was surprised when the police searched the bags and found drugs,” said Onuoha.

A copy of a marriage certificate produced by the defence was opposed from being tendered as evidence to the said marriage as the prosecution argued they were not furnished with it. In addition, the State led by Mr Vusumizi Mangena argued that they could not accept its admission on the basis that it was not certified as presented by the defence. Judgement is set to be passed tomorrow.

A number of tourists have been arrested at the resort city while trying to smuggle dangerous drugs at the airport this year.


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