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Drug Trafficking Spreads In LIB

by newsmanager

…As America Exposes US$100M Cocaine Syndicate

MONROVIA: The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), in collaboration with the National Security Agency (NSA), over the weekend, arrested a 31-year-old man, identified as Malam Conte, for being in possession of narcotic drugs, (cocaine),valued about US$100 million.

Malam Conte who is a citizen of Guinean Bissau, according to LDEA, was arrested in plain view following a well verified Intelligence from the United States government with respect to the importation of the drug into Liberia.

Reports say at 1:00pm, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) stormed the SONIT Liberia Incorporated compound in Tonpo Village community in Freeway, and seized a huge quantity of raw ‘Cocaine concealed, among frozen goods owned by SONIT Incorporated.

SONIT Incorporated is a frozen food company located in Topoe Villiage area along the Japan Freeway.
However, the company has distanced itself from the act and has since collaborated with the LDEA to ensure the arrest.
The value of the confiscated drug is about Hundred Million United States Dollar (100,000,000.00).
Following the arrest, suspect Conte admitted having connection with the consignment and iterated that he has since arrived in the country about two weeks ago to await the consignment.
During preliminary investigation, suspect Conte said he was asked by his international partners to follow the consignment and ensure it reaches the final destination.

However, he did not say as to whether Liberia is the final destination for the seized drug.
It was also established that suspect Malam arrived in the country with two other accomplices who checked in at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.

According to reports, they later moved over to the Boulevard Palace Hotel in the same Sinkor, where the LDEA was able to pick up additional information, leading towards their syndicate.

Meanwhile, suspects Gustavo Henrique, a Brazilian and Adulai Djibril, a Portuguese who both accompanied Malam were not in their hotel room at the time of our arrival.
Suspect Malam is currently undergoing full scale investigation, while suspects Gustavo Henrique and Adulai Djibril are at large.

Since the Liberia civil ended in August 2003, international ‘Drug Lords’ in Latin America and Asia using Liberia and others West African nations to traffic consignments of high substance of narcotic drugs work millions at the detriment of citizens of these countries due to apparent weak security system.
Few months into Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s incumbency as Africa and Liberia’s first elected female President, over US$500 million worth of drugs were arrested on Liberia’s territorial water and brought to the shores on Liberia. The drugs were later destroyed by the Liberian authorities and UNMIL officials.
According to multiple reports as it relates to drug trafficking in West Africa, Liberia is among few countries that ‘drug Lords’ continued to use as an important transit hub for cocaine and heroin coming from the Latin American and Asian producing countries to European markets.
Also the porosity of borders in West Africa, weak rule of law and limited infrastructures and resources allow traffickers to smuggle large amounts of drugs without being detected.
But reports say the Government of Liberia is committed to preventing organized narco-criminal groups from gaining a foothold in its territory but still faces challenges in terms of adequate resources and specialized skills to respond to such threats.
Since 2011, UNODC supported Liberian authorities in combating illicit drug trafficking and transnational organized crimes under the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) project and has thus supported the establishment and functioning of the Liberia Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TCU). Both the TCU and the Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) have recently achieved positive results in the number of seizures and arrests relating to drug trafficking.
For instance, in December 2018, and January 2019, LDEA officers conducted two effective joint operations, resulting in the remarkable seizure of 26 kg of heroin, valued at US$ 910,000 and the arrest of 8 individuals in Montserrado (Paynesville) and Grand Cape Mount Counties respectively.
Prior to that, in November 2018, LDEA and the Liberia TCU officers also seized 8 kg of unprocessed heroin from a passenger’s luggage at Roberts International Airport in Margibi County.

The seizures were made possible, thanks to intelligence gathering and proactive investigations between LDEA, TCU and various international partners.
WACI Member States, which include Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone, are working together to foster a regional response to the growing security threats in West Africa region.
Launched in 2009 as a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder partnership between the Department of Political Affairs (DPA)/UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), UNODC and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), WACI is designed to support the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Political Declaration and Regional Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa.

Due to collaborative efforts of Liberia’s international partners aimed at reducing drug trafficking, in early September 2022, two Nigerian drug traffickers were busted by the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) with about 781 kilograms of narcotic substance.
Stanley Igbo, aged 42, and Nwachukwu Ghigzie, 47, were arrested on, 2, September 2022, in Gbarnga, Bong County, following a tipoff from LDEA officer who “pretended to be a Buyer.”
The drugs confiscated were heroin and cocaine, with a total market value of a little over US$6.1 Million, according to the LDEA.
Bong County LDEA Commander, Thomas Saye, told journalists at the time that following the arrest, the suspects were pretending to be auto parts dealers at the Gbarnga Administrative building’s junction over the years.
“These guys have been selling drugs and pretending like their entire source of income is the sale of auto parts,” the Commander said.
“They only have small auto parts but the main reason for their stay at the shop is the sale of these substances,” Commander Saye added.
According to him, they planted one of their female intelligence officers with about L$45,000 who went to the shop and acted like she wanted to buy some of the drugs for retail marketing.
He stated that when the officer got the full understanding about how the narcotic drugs are sold, she later alarmed the LDEA and the police who immediately went to the scene to carry on the arrest.
“Before our Intelligence Officer [could] even get the clear understanding about how these guys are transacting their businesses, it was so difficult,” he said.
“At a certain point, he (the suspect) told her that he was not selling anything because he suspected that some security personnel were around. But talking from one point to another, he later decided to sell the items to her at which time we got the information,” he said.
Asked whether there is information about others who may have been in business connections with the suspects, Commander Saye said, they cannot disclose their next target to the public.
But, he said, they remain committed to doing the right thing amid the fight against drug trafficking.
In other cases, the Bong County LDEA Commander said Aleo Bankura, the Sierra Leonean national who was arrested on 11 July 2022 with 191 kilograms of marijuana, has been taken to court for trial. He said if proven guilty, he will be taken to jail.
He also informed pressmen that they have launched a manhunt for David Mulbah, a town Chief from lower Bong who had over the past assisted suspect Bankura in the sales of marijuana.

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