Drug trafficker, 22, faces death penalty

Drug trafficker, 22, faces death penalty

A Singaporean found with bundles of heroin and ice in the car he was driving is facing the death penalty after being convicted of drug trafficking on Monday.

The case was adjourned for the court to hear arguments on whether Masoud Rahimi Mehrzad, 22, was only a drug courier, which could allow him to escape being sentenced to death under new laws that came into effect this year.

In May 2010, Central Narcotics Bureau officers, acting on a tip-off, tailed Masoud as he drove a rented Mazda RX8 sports car from his Bishan flat to Bishan MRT station.

Malaysian Mogan Raj Terapadisamy, 25, got into the car at the station.

The officers saw Mogan place a black bundle on Masoud's lap. Masoud handed him some money. The men parted ways and were separately arrested.

Masoud was stopped at the junction of Henderson Road and Jalan Bukit Merah while Mogan was intercepted at the junction of Kallang Way and Aljunied Road.

A black bundle found on the passenger seat in Masoud's car contained heroin and methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.

A Mickey Mouse plastic bag containing two bundles of heroin was found in a locked compartment in the back seat.

Masoud's DNA was found on the masking tape used to wrap the bundles.

The officers also found three forged identity cards and two forged driving licences in the car, as well as two stun guns in Masoud's flat.

Masoud, represented by Mr Peter Fernando, said he did not know that the black bundle and the plastic bag contained drugs.

He added that the drugs were planted in the car by an illegal moneylending syndicate who wanted to set him up because they knew he was going to stop working for them.

Mogan, represented by Mr Ram Goswami, said he was offered RM1,500 ($584) to deliver barang to Singapore but did not know the bundles contained drugs. Barang means "things" in Malay. Mogan said he did not know it was also slang for drugs.

The High Court rejected their defence on Monday. Justice Choo Han Teck said he was satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case against both men.

Masoud was convicted of trafficking 31.14g of heroin - the capital charge - and 77g of ice. Mogan was convicted of trafficking 14.99g of heroin and 77g of Ice.

selinal@sph.com.sg


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