Drug dealer in plea deal

2013-08-09 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG drug dealer Sathyanand (alias Sunil) Harrichand Chander was sentenced yesterday when he and four co-accused entered into plea agreements with the state in the regional court.

He was given a 17-year-sentence — of which half was conditionally suspended.

Chander, Ashraf Mohamed, Tony Pillay, a youth, and Narainsamy Vankia pleaded guilty before regional court magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa to involvement in the sale of various amounts of crack cocaine and mandrax tablets to a police agent during 2011.

The youth — who was 16 years old at the time of the incidents — and Pillay were the only two accused who were not sentenced to direct imprisonment in terms of a plea agreement negotiated by state advocate Yuri Gengai with defence advocate Louis Barnard, instructed by Nasen Naicker.

In the case of the youngster, the passing of sentence was postponed for a period of five years.

Pillay, who was convicted of a single charge, was sentenced to pay a fine of R1 000 (or 100 days’ imprisonment), in addition to a wholly suspended sentence of three years imprisonment.

Barnard said the juvenile accused’s fate was now in his hands.

He said in considering an appropriate punishment for him, they had taken into consideration the fact that he was young and had been influenced by older people in the drug trade.

Mohamed was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, of which three years was conditionally suspended, and Vankia to five years’ imprisonment, of which four years was conditionally suspended.

The magistrate warned Chander that with a number of previous convictions, he risked being declared a habitual criminal if he did not reform.

He said the drug scourge is a problem throughout the world.

Chander admitted that he had operated a tuck shop at his home at 176 Erna Road in Northdale at the time of the incidents, and that he had kept “relatively small quantities” of dagga, mandrax and cocaine on him for purposes of sale.

Users in the area knew that he could supply drugs and they would approach him directly or use one of his co-accused to obtain drugs.

The court was told Chander had set up the tuck shop after he was released from prison on parole on June 20, 2005. He earned an income from the tuck shop and “further made a living by gambling”.

Due to his connections to the “underworld”, he had been recruited as a police informer and information supplied by him had led to the arrest of other drug dealers in Pietermaritzburg.

“By keeping contact with his connections in the drug underworld, accused one [Chander] became tempted and so involved himself yet again in the offences of dealing in drugs … to generate further income,” the court was told.

The accused were arrested in August 2011 as a result of a police trap sprung by an undercover agent who had purchased drugs from them

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