The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 31 year-old man of Lusaka’s Kabanana Compound to five years imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking in over 600 Kilograms of Marijuana, without lawful authority.

Meckson Zulu, a bricklayer, was found in possession of 11 50kg bags filled with the said drugs at his home.

Zulu, who was jointly charged with Edward Phiri, a farmer of Chilambila village with one count of trafficking in psychotropic substances had admitted to the charge but his co-accused, Phiri, had pleaded not guilty.

Particulars of the offence in this matter are that, on September 8, 2018, in Lusaka, the two accused persons jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, did traffic in psychotropic substances namely 659.818 kilograms of Marijuana, a herbal product of cannabis sativa, without lawful authority.

Facts in respect of the first accused, Zulu, are that on September 8, 2018, police officers received information that there was a man in Kabanana compound dealing in drugs.

Acting on the report, they proceeded to his home in Kabanana compound and once there, they informed him about the purpose of their visit.

They conducted a body search and didn’t find anything then the search was extended to his house where they discovered 11 bags of loose vegetables suspected to be marijuana.

After a further search they found 22 plastic bags which they also suspected to be marijuana.

The suspected drugs were taken to UTH were it was identified as marijuana.

Under warn and caution statement, Zulu gave a free and voluntary reply admitting the charge.

When the matter came up for facts and sentencing, Thursday, Zulu admitted that the drugs were his and that the facts were correct.

The 11 bags and 22 plastic bags of marijuana were then tendered into evidence.

After that, magistrate Sakala convicted.

“Based on your own admission and the evidence before me I find you guilty of trafficking psychotropic substances and I convict you,” she said.

In mitigation, Zulu who was a first offender and asked for forgiveness from the court saying he was an orphan and was keeping his siblings and his children.

He said he sold the said drugs so that he could find income to take his children to school, as well as to pay rentals.

“For me to be found with those drugs, my parents are deceased. That was my source of income because I was keeping my siblings and my children. I knew that what I was doing was not right but it was my source of income for paying rentals and school fees. I’m kindly asking this honourable court to forgive me, I will never do it again,” he pleaded.

And passing judgement, magistrate Sakala noted that drug trafficking was a serious offence adding that the said drugs had a serious adverse effect on the consumers.

She said it was a shame that Zulu was selling those drugs to sustain his family when he could have easily found a noble job.

Magistrate Sakala then sentenced him to five years imprisonment with hard labour to deter would be offenders.

Meanwhile, magistrate Sakala granted the application from the prosecution to have the drugs destroyed after 14 days had elapsed, in the presence of DEC officers.

In respect of second accused, magistrate Sakala adjourned the matter to September 28, this year for possible commencement of trial.