Criminal Court ordered the release of a Brazilian woman arrested for attempting to smuggle 18.8kg of cocaine to Maldives.
In the hearing held on Wednesday, Criminal Court ordered the release of Nauru Nunez D'Souza, 37, who was arrested earlier in November along with Cristiano Silva, 28, for attempting to smuggle cocaine to Maldives. The drugs were found in Silva's luggage.
Despite D'Souza claiming she was unaware of the drugs in Silva's luggage and Silva backing them up, Criminal Court has extended her arrest on multiple occasion previously.
Police stated in yesterday's hearing that D'Souza was aware and had consented to carrying the drugs in Silva's luggage. This claim was made because the two of them had travelled together and their luggage showed that it was shared between the two companions, as it had both of their clothes in them.
D'Souza's legal representative claims that she was unaware of the drugs in Silva's luggage. Shared clothes between them does not indicate awareness and consent and it is not a reason to arrest her, her representative said.
Furthermore, they said the luggage was searched in their absence, and as such the drugs found cannot be claimed as legitimate evidence. However Maldives Customs Service has said their officers searched the luggage in the presence of the two women.
In Criminal Court's ruling, they said while the shared luggage between the traveling companions does raise suspicion, police had failed to prove that D'Souza was aware and had consented to smuggle the drugs to Maldives.
The order said that even after completing the investigation and the currently pending work, it is unlikely that evidence for D'Souza's consent or knowledge will be obtained.
The court ruled that there was no reason for D'Souza to be responsible for the drugs as the luggage was not searched in their presence.
Customs has previously stated that the drug seized in this case will reach MVR 94 million in the drug market.
There has been an increase with South American nationals attempting to smuggle drugs into Maldives. According to the police, this increase is due to smugglers using Maldives as a transit point in their drug routes.