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South African national James Blankson, 48, was sentenced on June 14, 2024, to 34 years of penal servitude for drug trafficking. He was also fined Rs 200,000. Sentence handed down by Judge Raatna Seetohul-Toolsee, sitting in the Assize Court.

The forty-year-old was arrested on March 8, 2017 at the Le Kato Bay residence, in Péreybère, while he was preparing to receive 5,058.4 grams of heroin. The drug, intended for distribution, had an estimated street value of Rs 75,876,000.

The drug packages, packaged in two cardboard boxes, were labeled “Samsung Digital Home Entertainment”. They had been intercepted by customs, before being replaced by fakes, as part of a controlled delivery operation where police officers had posed as DHL employees. The packages being intended for a certain “Robert Shawn”, the sleuths went to the address indicated on the cardboard boxes, that of the residence where James Blankson was staying. On site, the latter insisted on the fact that the man named “Robert Shawn” had asked him to receive the packages for him. After signing the delivery note, he lifted the two cardboard boxes. It was then that he was arrested.

Judge Raatna Seetohul-Toolsee noted that although the criminal organization behind this drug transaction had not been dismantled, the defendant's cooperation led to the arrest of a local contact. She stressed that the sentence imposed was necessary to deter future drug traffickers.

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