While suspected drug dealer James Ifenatuora was yesterday being granted R200 000 bail by the East London Magistrate’s Court ahead of his R1.8-million drug trial, a couple who sold drugs to an undercover narcotics agent were spared jail and fined R300 000 in the regional court.
Ifenatuora, 45, was arrested in one of the Amalinda Sohco flats on September 22 when members of the Hawks narcotics and East London crime intelligence units allegedly found him in possession of 7.5kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) and 300g of cocaine.
The drugs, said the police, were packed and ready for distribution.
Ifenatuora pleaded with bail court magistrate Robin Tylor to be released on bail, claiming he was suffering psychologically.
He said he was a married father with four children aged 13, 11, six and three, and was a businessman operating a car wash in Oxford Street, employing 14 people.
He said he had an economics degree from a university in Nigeria, and needed to be released on bail so that he could continue working and paying his children’s school fees.
He said he would plead not guilty. Ifenatuora has previously been convicted of drug possession charges and fined.
State prosecutor Queode Botha did not oppose bail, but asked the court to release Ifenatuora on strict conditions, including that he surrender his passport to the investigating officer, Captain Raymond Buys, and report to the East London police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6am and 6pm until the finalisation of the trial.
Bail was granted and the case was postponed to November 2 for further investigation.
The couple were arrested with 1150 mandrax tablets and 160g of tik with a combined street value of R68000 during a raid by a Hawks’ narcotics unit in their Vergenoeg home on January 12 this year.
Aubrey Gysman, 45, and his wife Ronel Gysman, 38, had been charged with four counts of drug dealing and drug possession.
East London regional magistrate Nomthandazo Vabaza heard that Gysman sold the drugs to an undercover police officer on three occasions outside his house on December 6, 7 and 8 last year where 13 mandrax tablets were sold.
Ronel, the court heard, kept the cash for change inside the house. The couple shared the home with four children, aged 18, 13 and nine-year-old twins, and a grandchild.
The couple told the court they entered the drug trade when one of their children fell sick and required a lot of money to be cured.
They were first offenders and owned a butchery in Vergenoeg that employed seven people, they said.
Their lawyer, Henry van Breda, said the couple, who have been married for 18 years, had shown remorse by pleading guilty and cooperating with police.
He agreed with the state that the couple should pay a fine instead of being sent to prison.
Gysman was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years. He was fined R200 000 or three years’ imprisonment.
Ronel was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment wholly suspended for five years. She was fined R100 000 or two years’ imprisonment.
Van Breda said Gysman was in possession of R30 000 and Ronel was in possession of R20 000 which they could pay immediately.
Van Breda said the couple, in agreement with senior state prosecuting advocate Elna Smit and Hawks investigating officer Captain Raymond Buys, would pay the balance in installments for 24 months.