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Thursday, September 17, 2009

‘Bronx Cocaine Girls’ Weep

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Abena Serwah and Joanne Gabrielle, the girls who were busted at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) with pellets of cocaine allegedly stuffed in their private parts, yesterday broke down in tears when their charges were read to them in an Accra Fast Track High Court.

Serwah, 19, and Gabrielle, 21, both students and American nationals, were arrested alongside Shadrack Ntiamoah, a fire officer, and charged together with attempted exportation of narcotics and possession of narcotic drugs without licence.

While Serwah and Ntiamoah pleaded not guilty to the charges without their counsel, Gabrielle told the court she would not enter a plea because her lawyer was not in court, after which she sat down to weep and her alleged accomplice also joined in shedding tears when her plea was taken.

The Chief State Attorney, Mr. George Kwadwo Ofori who presented the facts of the case, told the court presided over by Justice Charles Quist that the accused persons were American citizens of Ghanaian parentage and based in The Bronx, New York.

According to him, on September 9, 2009, the accused persons arrived at KIA to board a Delta Airlines flight to the United States of America and went through boarding formalities. But security officers suspected them of carrying narcotic substances and subjected them to thorough searching.

He said during the search, it was detected that each of the students had 19 oval shaped pellets of whitish substance suspected to be cocaine lodged in their private parts while the fire officer also had the substance in a canvass shoe he was wearing.

The prosecuting attorney said during interrogation, the suspects explained that it was given to them in Ghana by a certain Abubakari to be given to an Alhaji in the US. They were also given an undisclosed amount of money concealed in an envelop for the said Alhaji.

However, attempts to trace the said the Abubakari proved futile and they were consequently arraigned for the offence.

They have been remanded in police custody to re-appear on September 23, 2009.

In a related development, Ibrahim Sima, the fashion guru and boss of Exopa Modeling Agency, arraigned for attempted exportation of substance suspected to be cocaine, has pleaded not guilty to the charge in the same court.

A sober-looking Ibrahim also pleaded not guilty to possession of the narcotic drugs and has been remanded in prison custody while the case has been adjourned to September 23, 2009.

Counsel for the accused person, Mr. Kwame Boafo Akuffo, expressed concern about the seizure of the Range Rover of his client without any reasons and without a court order, saying unless they have evidence that the vehicle was linked to narcotics drugs, they have no reason whatsoever for taking away the vehicle. He prayed the court to order the return of the vehicle to his client.

Justice Quist ordered that the vehicle be kept in the custody of the police for the time being.

Mr. Sima reportedly told Narcotics Control Board officials who interrogated him after his arrest that the tubers of yam were given to him by one Salifu who resides in Nima, a suburb of Accra, to be given to a friend for a fee of 3000 Euros.

A remnant of glue was allegedly found in his(Sima’s) house, which they suspected was used to join back the sliced yams when investigators conducted a search there. They also found a bread knife, believed to have been used to cut the yams.

Mr. Sima allegedly admitted to investigators that the glue and the knife were used for the purposes as presented to the court.

The defendant’s counsel, Kwame Akuffo, however objected to the evidence presented by the state attorney, arguing that the information was elicited from his client without the presence of his counsel and prayed the court to dismiss them. But his argument was overruled.

Several Exopa models, as well as friends and family of the accused person, filled the courtroom to capacity to give moral support to their boss.

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