Defendant Charles Akanlisa, one of the three persons being tried at Criminal Court ‘C’ for allegedly smuggling 484.4 kilograms of heroin with the market value of US$14,532 via DHL into the country on Thursday, admitted being responsible for importing the illicit drug.
The Nigerian national’s voluntary statement of admission was enough for prosecution to ask Judge Emery Paye to drop the multiple charges levied against defendants Comfort Wleh, a Liberian, and her fiancée Uache Ude, a Nigerian national.
The drug was reportedly transported from Kampala, Uganda, by DHL into the country on July 30, 2015, but the defendants were later attested in August 2015 by officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA).
Akanlisa’s dramatic confession came immediately after he had pleaded not guilty to the crime when he and his co-defendants were arraigned at the beginning of their trial to answer to charges in the presence of the jury.
Although Akanlisa admitted to his crime, the jury, however, came down with a unanimous guilty verdict later.
Before the jury’s guilty verdict, Akanlisa was asked by Judge Paye if he was influenced by his lawyer to change his earlier plea, to which he responded in the negative.
It now rests with the Judge to decide whether or not Akanlisa should face a harsher punishment when he delivers his judgment early this week.
It can be recalled that the same court in 2014 convicted Shirat Nalwadda, a Ugandan woman, of unlawful possession, trafficking and distribution of narcotics to Liberia.
Nalwadda was later deported to her country after serving nearly half of her four-year sentence in Liberia.
Meanwhile, Akanlisa along with Comfort Wleh and her fiancée Uache Ude were charged with unlicensed sale, administration, trading, dispensation, delivery, distribution, dispatch in transit and transportation of a controlled drug, which is a first degree felony.
The case grew in 2015 when LDEA officers launched a manhunt for Wleh after they learnt that she was the recipient of the package bearing airway number 5506690814 shipped from Kampala to Monrovia through the DHL.
She was on her way to the Broad Street, Monrovia, office of the DHL to take delivery of her parcel when the officers intercepted her.
However, she fled the area after she was tipped off by Gabriel Doe and Andrew Nah, employees of the DHL, about her arrest.
Doe and Nah are currently escaping prosecution.