Man used as 'drug mule' dies in Zimbabwe while associates are arrested

A Tanzanian national died in Zimbabwe last week while allegedly attempting to smuggle 1.4kg of heroin into South Africa. The victim, Ally Omari Mpili, had sealed the drugs in 80 small sachets before swallowing them whole. His two associates later tried to retrieve his corpse, before being arrested by authorities.

On October 19, Mr Mpili had planned to take a bus from Harare to South Africa but had apparently missed the connecting bus at Road Port station, forcing him to seek accommodation overnight in Braeside. The police believe the sachets had burst, causing the drugs to enter his stomach.

Jumanne Ndumbogane, 33, a Tanzanian national from South Africa, and Zimbabwean Mufungo Ngara, 39, tried to gain access to the corpse five days later by attempting to claim the body at the funeral parlour. However, staff informed the police and they were subsequently arrested.

Police took the body to Vineyard Funeral Parlour while a post mortem was due to take place. The post-mortem, carried out on October 25 at Parirenyatwa Hospital by a local pathologist, confirmed the presence of heroin in Mr Mpili’s intestines.

It is believed Ndumbogane and Ngara planned to dissect Mr Mpili’s corpse in order to retrieve the drugs, which had a value of US $112,000, according to reports from state-owned newspaper, The Herald. The prosecutor, Tungamirai Chakurira, told the court that Ndumbogane is unemployed and resides in South Africa while Ngara is self-employed as an unregistered transporter in the same country.

The two men have apparently been accused of violating Section 189 as read with 156 (i) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, for allegedly attempting to deal in dangerous drugs.

However, there are conflicting reports over whether or not they have been formally charged or not by the Harare magistrate; The Herald has gone with the latter while the independent NewsDay maintains that the former is true.

The men have been denied bail and have been remanded in custody until November 12 after prosecutor Mr Chakurira opposed bail.