Cocaine smuggler fails with appeal against sentence

Bruno Bastos

A Brazilian serving a nine-year prison term after being caught trying to smuggle one kilogramme of cocaine into Namibia has failed in an appeal against his sentence.

Bruno Lourenço Bastos’ appeal against his sentence was dismissed in the Windhoek High Court on Friday, after two judges concluded there was no misdirection by the magistrate who sentenced Bastos in the Windhoek Regional Court at the end of January last year.

Judge Philanda Christiaan remarked in the appeal judgement: “Unfortunately, the appellant [Bastos] has to endure hardship due to his criminal activities. However, those are inevitable consequences of crime and cannot be said to constitute a mitigating factor.

The appellant ought to have realised that when engaging himself in criminal activities, there would be consequences that are usually very severe.”

For Bastos (42), those consequences include a lengthy stay in a Namibian prison, after he was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment, of which two years were suspended for a period of five years.

Bastos also spent a year and three months in jail before he was sentenced.

He was arrested at the start of November 2021, after he had entered Namibia at Hosea Kutako International Airport with 1,04 kilogrammes of swallowed cocaine in his body.

The cocaine, which was in the form of 98 objects referred to as ‘bullets’, had an estimated street-market value of N$343 000.

Bastos admitted guilt on a charge of dealing in a dangerous dependence-producing drug in the Windhoek Regional Court in November 2022.

He informed the court he was detained at Hosea Kutako International Airport after he had travelled from São Paulo in Brazil to Namibia.

According to Bastos, customs and police officials at the airport informed him the Brazilian customs authorities had alerted them that he was suspected of carrying illegal substances with him.

Bastos also said he was supposed to be paid US$2 000 (about N$34 000 at the time) to smuggle the cocaine into Namibia.

He said he was instructed to deliver the drugs to an unknown person in Namibia.

Bastos’ sentence is appropriate, considering the circumstances of his case, Christiaan said in the appeal judgement.

She also noted that the magistrate who sentenced him took into account that he was a first-time offender in Namibia, but also considered the seriousness of the crime he committed and the effect that cocaine has on people in society.

There was no misdirection when the magistrate decided to sentence Bastos to a period of imprisonment, Christiaan said.

Judge Naomi Shivute agreed with her judgement.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji represented Bastos in the appeal.

The state was represented by Maria Shilongo.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News