Cocaine smuggler fails in appeal against sentence – News

Cocaine smuggler fails in appeal against sentence – News

A Brazilian man serving a nine-year prison sentence after being caught trying to smuggle a kilogram of cocaine into Namibia has failed in an appeal against his sentence.

Bruno Lourenço Bastos’ appeal against his sentence was dismissed at the Windhoek High Court on Friday, after two judges concluded that there was no misdirection on the part of the magistrate who sentenced Bastos at the Windhoek Regional Court in late January last year.

Judge Philanda Christiaan commented in the appeal ruling: “Unfortunately, the appellant (Bastos) has to endure hardship due to his criminal activities. However, these are inevitable consequences of the crime and cannot be said to constitute a mitigating factor.

The appellant should have understood that when engaging in criminal activities, the consequences are usually very serious.”

For Bastos (42), those consequences include a long stay in a Namibian prison, after being sentenced to 11 years in prison, of which two were suspended for a period of five years.

Bastos also spent a year and three months in prison before being sentenced.

He was arrested in early November 2021, after having entered Namibia through the Hosea Kutako International Airport with 1.04 kilograms of cocaine ingested in his body.

The cocaine, which came in the form of 98 objects called “bullets”, had an estimated street market value of N$343,000.

Bastos admitted guilt to the charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug causing dependence at the Windhoek Regional Court in November 2022.

He informed the court that he was detained at Oseas Kutako International Airport after having traveled from São Paulo in Brazil to Namibia.

According to Bastos, customs officials and airport police informed him that Brazilian customs authorities had alerted them that he was suspected of carrying illegal substances.

Bastos also said that he was supposed to be paid US$2,000 (about N$34,000 at the time) to smuggle the cocaine into Namibia.

He said he was instructed to deliver the drugs to an unknown person in Namibia.

Bastos’ sentence is appropriate, considering the circumstances of his case, Christiaan stated in the appeal ruling.

He also noted that the magistrate who sentenced him took into account that he was a first-time offender in Namibia, but also considered the seriousness of the crime he committed and the effect that cocaine has on people in society.

There was no error when the magistrate decided to sentence Bastos to a prison term, Christiaan said.

Judge Naomi Shivute agreed with his sentence.

Defense lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji represented Bastos in the appeal.

The state was represented by Maria Shilongo.

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