Life sentences for 2 arrested in controlled delivery drug op.

Drug Enforcement Department (DED) places a suspect under arrest during a raid. (File Photo/Maldives Police Service)

Criminal Court has found two people arrested in a controlled delivery drug operation run by the police guilty of the charges against them, sentencing them to life imprisonment.

Imran Wajdhy, Zikuravilla, S. Maradhoo, and Ali Jibreel, Ma. Dheyliyaage, K. Male’ were arrested in a controlled delivery operation run by the police on January 31, 2018 to detect the collector of a document envelope which was flagged for possible drugs during scanning of parcels at the post office.

Controlled delivery occurs when a consignment of illicit drugs is detected, usually concealed in some other goods, in circumstances making it possible for those goods to go forward under the control and surveillance of law enforcement officers with a view to identifying and securing evidence against the persons involved.

The police put the parcel in question in a locker at the PikPost at Velana Building, and waited to see who came to pick up the parcel.

The parcel was picked up by Imran, who was arrested as soon as he punched in the code to open the locker and collected the parcel.

Imran told the police the parcel belonged to Jibreel. And the police laid in wait in Imran’s house to wait for Jibreel to come collect the parcel. He was arrested as he came to Imran’s apartment and retrieved the envelope from the parcel.

And during a search under court order on one of the rooms in the apartment using keys found on Jibreel’s person, the police found 10.45 grams of diamorphine (heroin) in two rubber packets inside a safe in a closet inside the room. The police also matched the DNA collected from masks inside the closet to Imran and Jibreel’s, and found paraphernalia used to pack drugs from inside the closet.

The State had put forward police officers involved in the operation and officers involved in making the forensic reports as witnesses, while the witnesses put forward by the defense were rejected citing they were put forward past the deadline.

According to the Anti-Narcotics Act, over 4 grams of diamorphine in possession of a non-addict provides grounds to establish intent to distribute.

The main point of contention raised by the defense was that the defendants were prosecuted not based on the contents of the parcel sent through post, but based on the drugs found inside the room. The defense argued that the charges were therefore void due to lack of basis. However, the Criminal Court stated in the verdict that the explanation regarding the parcel brought in through post in the charge sheet was to provide context.

The Criminal Court said that though the defense argued that the evidence was collected illegally, the police entered the apartment with Imran’s permission and collected the evidence under court order. And that though the defense argued that the drugs found in the case cannot be linked to Imran and Jibreel, their DNA was found in masks found in the same closet from where the drugs were found.

The defense had attempted to prove that the apartment in question wasn’t used by Imran and Jibreel alone, but the court stated that testimony from police officers establish there was no evidence of others inhabiting the apartment even when the police had run the operation.

Criminal Court Judge Hassan Saeed found the two guilty of the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them to life imprisonment and MVR 100,000 fines on January 11.

Under the Anti-Narcotics Act, diamorphine trafficking is punishable with a life sentence and a fine within the rage of MVR 100,000 to MVR 10,000,000. A life sentence is 25 years.