NDEA communiqué-Drug dealers sentenced


Hugh Simeon, a 37-year-old unemployed man from Anse Royale, together with his wife Sera, 24, was arrested on June 24, 2011 after a National Drugs Enforcement Agency (NDEA) task force discovered heroin with a street value of more than R770,000 concealed in a bedroom of their lavish home overlooking the sea.

Both Simeon and his wife pleaded not guilty to the charges, necessitating a lengthy trial. Faced with the inevitable, Simeon changed his plea and accepted responsibility for the drugs, following which the charges against his wife were withdrawn.

Simeon was believed to be one of the top suppliers of drugs in Seychelles and a vital link in the importation and distribution network of heroin in Seychelles. 
Three other persons have also been sentenced by the Supreme Court this week to long terms of imprisonment after being convicted on charges that included conspiracy and trafficking illegal drugs with a total street value of more than one million rupees.

May Estro Tirant, a 65-year-old businesswoman from Mont Buxton, and her accomplice  Leonard Celestine, a 40-year-old self-employed man, also from Mont Buxton, were each sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. Mrs Tirant received an additional 10 years on the charge of drug trafficking.

Both were arrested by the NDEA on December 12, 2010 when a consignment of drugs was intercepted after being collected from the offices of a courier company in Victoria. Acting on intelligence reports of similar deliveries, the NDEA set up a surveillance operation and observed a woman collecting a parcel and observed her for some time before intercepting her in the market area of the capital.

She was arrested and brought to NDEA headquarters where the parcel was opened and found to contain heroin weighing 153 grams. The drugs were concealed inside one of a number of carved animal figurines. The NDEA understands that the goods were to be shipped to Praslin under the pretext of conducting a genuine business in toys and artefacts. The drugs had a street value of more than R765,000.

The case was vigorously contested from the outset. Following a lengthy trial heard by the Supreme Court, both accused were convicted and sentenced.
Also in the Supreme Court this week, a 25-year-old labourer from Mount Plaisir was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment after he was convicted of drug trafficking. Kevin Albest was arrested at Mont Plaisir close to his home by NDEA agents who were conducting a patrol in the area. The drugs that were found in his possession were later identified as cannabis, weighing 722 grams, with a street value of R360,000.

Criminal assets

The NDEA has also been carrying out a number of searches aimed at seizing the illegally-acquired assets of drug traffickers. The most recent search resulted in the seizure of foreign currency to the value of R307,000. This latest seizure brings the total value in respect of convictions and seizures of drugs and cash during this week to almost two million rupees.
Other drug-related convictions in the Magistrates Court included the following:

• A 14-year-old youth appeared before the court after being arrested for trafficking hashish and heroin at Plaisance in September 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment and a further one year imprisonment suspended for two years.

• Louis Agnes, a 41-year-old fisherman from Anse Aux Pins, pleaded guilty to the possession of 0.7 grams of cannabis and was sentenced to pay a fine of R6,000 or six months’ imprisonment.

• Alex Lucas, now a 17-year-old fisherman from Anse Aux Pins, who was arrested for possession when he was a 16-year-old student, has pleaded guilty. His sentence will be delivered at a later date.
• Nigel Onezime of Au Cap, who is 27 years old and unemployed, pleaded guilty to the charge of possession. He was sentenced to pay a fine of R20.000 or six months’ imprisonment.

• Andy Vital, a 37-year-old labourer from La Gogue, who was arrested on June 16, 2012 for possession of 0.6 grams of cannabis, pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to pay a fine of R5,000 or two months’ imprisonment.