South African man sentenced to jail for smuggling drugs into Maldives

A South African man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for smuggling 896 grams of drugs into the Maldives.

The man, Zamakile Lesia Onyechege, smuggled about 83 bullets of cocaine hidden in his body on June 17. According to the charge sheet, the bullets were removed from his body after passing stools nine times. The substances were removed from his body over several days while under police custody.

In court, Zamakile pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He told the court that he smuggled the drugs into the Maldives while well aware of what they were.

While the charges carry a 25-year jail sentence and a fine between MVR 10,000 to 100,000, he entered into an agreement with the state due to his admission of guilt. Therefore, he was handed a lighter sentence of 12 years and two months in jail by Judge Ismail Shafeeu.

According to customs records, a large amount of drugs are smuggled into the Maldives from South Africa.