Durban - Two Durban women convicted on several counts of dealing in cocaine, have been released on suspended sentences – having already spent almost two years in prison.
Fikile Faith Mkhize, 25, and Wendy Manunu Mgcina, 27 – who assisted refugee brothers, Eleazer, 33, and Paschal Uyanwune, 31, in operating a drug syndicate – were given a five-year sentence, wholly suspended, by Durban regional magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe yesterday.
Hlophe’s decision to hand down a non-custodial sentence was in accordance with the State and defence counsel’s suggestion, as the women’s role in the operation was minimal and restricted to merely the handing over of the drugs.
Earlier this week all four accused were convicted of racketeering and a total of 26 counts of dealing in cocaine.
Their arrest in 2010 was the result of a seven-month operation by police in Bellair.
The court had heard that an undercover agent had placed 22 orders for cocaine with Eleazer from February 2010 to September 2010, through a cellphone number he had provided.
In each case the drugs, amounting to about 2.5kg, with an estimated street value of about R1 million, were delivered to the agent.
The conviction was historic in that it was the first successful prosecution of its kind in KZN where an individual, Eleazer Uyanwune, was convicted on the basis that he was effectively a “criminal enterprise”.
Uyanwune, who is married to Mgcina, was sentenced to eight years in prison for racketeering and 15 years, seven of which are suspended, for his key role in the operation.
His brother was given five years for racketeering and a 10-year suspended sentence for several counts of dealing in cocaine.
“Anyone who deals in serious drugs must realise that the court will not be sympathetic.
“It is not difficult to understand why traffickers, all over the world, are executed,” Hlophe said yesterday. - Daily News