Dar es Salaam. Ten Iranians and two Tanzanians were yesterday charged with smuggling into Tanzania over 100 kilos of heroin through the Indian Ocean.
The 12 men were intercepted in a dhow off the Zanzibar coast last Tuesday during a midnight operation conducted by the Drug Control and Enforcement Agency (DCEA) in cooperation with other defence and security organs and international agencies supporting Tanzania in the war against drugs.
Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court heard that the accused were arrested within Tanzania water bodies at the Indian Ocean on November 25 trafficking in 111.2 kilos of heroin, a mixture of cannabis (marijuana) and kuber weighing 3.34 kilos and 235.78 grams of marijuana.
Senior Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa refused to accept any plea from the accused because the case is tried by the High Court.
The Kisutu Court only conducts preliminary hearing before the case is taken over by the High Court.
The accused looked fatigued and exhausted as the case against them continued with the help of a translator, Mr Meja Ndakeye.
The ten Iranians, all from Konarak, Chobkar are Nabibakshsh Bibarde, 40, Mohamadhanif Dorzade, 23, Abdallah Shahib, 21, Naim Ishaqa, 26, Ubeidulla Abdi, 23, Moslem Golmohamad, 35, Rashid Badfor, 27, Omary Ayoub, 27, Tahir Mubarak, 22 and Abdulmajid Pirmuhamad, 27.
The two Tanzanians are Ally Abdallah Ally, 25, a resident of Dar es Salaam Kunduchi suburbs and Juma Amour Juma, 35, of Pangani in Tanga.
Senior State Attorney Mutalemwa Kishenyi informed the court that investigation into the case were still going as he asked for another date. The case will come on November 13 for another mention.
At the time of their arrest in the high seas, the accused reportedly attempted to change direction after realising they had been intercepted but could not move far before a navy ship used in operation cornered them.
DCEA commissioner general Rogers Siyanga told The Citizen last week that the seized drugs could have been bigger had the accused not started dumping the consignment overboard.
It is the largest consignment of heroin to be seized in the country since DCEA came into force in April this year.
The anti-drugs agency has in recent months recorded enormous success in the drug war after seizing nearly 300 bags of marijuana in Northern Tanzania region of Arumeru.