Seven boatmen charged over drugs, gun and turtle meat

08-January-2013 The seven were jointly charged with possession of about 80 kilogrammes of cannabis and about 3kg of cannabis resin, an AK 47 assault rifle, a magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62mm bullets and turtle meat. The court heard that the seven were caught on a boat by the National Drugs Enforcement Agency on Friday December 7, 2012 some 400 miles south of Mahe and that the drugs, turtle meat and bullets have been certified to be what prosecutors claimed they were. The cannabis was in 11 gunny bags, the court heard, and it was also told there were what is believed to be, but is yet to be confirmed to be sea cucumbers as well as salted fish. Most of the accused were represented by a lawyer each, all of whom said they were not objecting to the court’s decision to remand them yet, but Alexia Amesbury argued that no mention was made by the prosecutor of the involvement in apparent wrong doing of two of the accused. She argued they were “simply fishermen – with real fish on board to prove fishing was the reason they were at sea – who happened to be on a boat that turned out to have drugs and ammunition”. Objecting to the accused’s release on bail, prosecutors said trafficking involving more than 250 grammes of drugs is a serious crime attracting life in jail sentences, and when talking to Nation, they said possession of a firearm attracts only two years in jail and is raised to seven years when there is proof the person with the gun intended to use it.