One of the Brazilian travelers arrested with 18 kilos of cocaine released

18.857 kilos of cocaine seized from a Brazilian traveler on November 2, 2021. (Photo/Maldives Customs Service)

One of the two Brazilian travelers who were arrested from the Velana International Airport in Maldives with over 18 kilos of cocaine back in November has been released from police custody. 

Cristiano Silva Rodridge Jr, 28, and Nauru Nunez D'Souza, 37, were arrested upon arrival at Velana International Airport on a flight from Brazil on November 2 after authorities found drugs inside Cristiano’s luggage.  

The drugs weighed 18.857 kilos. 

They are accused of smuggling drugs into Maldives, and attempting to use and traffic the drugs. 

The Criminal Court ordered for one of the suspects, Nauru, to be released from police custody on Wednesday. 

Cristiano and Nauru travelled to Maldives together. Police have said they found a tag with Cristiano’s name inside the luggage inside which the drugs were found. The luggage was searched in Cristiano’s presence, but not Nauru’s. 

While the drugs were found inside Cristiano’s luggage, police believe the drugs were smuggled with Nauru’s knowledge and consent, citing that they had travelled together, and both their clothes were found inside the luggage. 

At a previous remand hearing, Cristiano confessed to smuggling drugs inside his luggage, and backed Nauru’s claim that she did not know he was carrying drugs. However, he later recanted the confession, claiming that the drugs weren’t his and that the confession had been coerced. 

The court order instructing Nauru’s release states that two elements must be met to establish drugs found from one person also belonged to another person; knowledge the other person was carrying drugs, and consent. 

The court said the police failed to submit any evidence to prove the two elements existed. 

The court said that though the fact that they had shared luggage provides some degree of grounds for suspicion, the police has failed to find sufficient evidence despite having had Nauru in custody for over one month. 

Meanwhile, the five-day remand period granted for Cristiano expires on Friday. 

The street value of the cocaine seized in the case is estimated to be MVR 94 million.