(Issue for Monday 5th August 2019)
Operatives of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG) have recovered 48 bags of cocaine in a container in Banjul.
Mahdi Tajudinn, a Gambian and Ossama Mahmoud, a Lebanese are currently under the custody of the DLEAG, and helping narcotic officers in their investigation over the matter.
The suspected cocaine is believed to originate from Brazil. Officials said it was addressed to Laura Food Company. The company, they added, was a registered company in The Gambia dealing in various types of food stuffs since 2016.
The deputy spokesperson of DLEAG, Yassin A. Ndimballan, has confirmed the development, adding that the matter is currently under investigation.
The deputy public relations officer of DLEAG added that on Saturday 27 July 2019, a businessman, Sidi Ahmed bought a 20ft container (#CAXU 6080692) of sugar from Laura Food Company (LFC), which was delivered to him.
“The container was part of a consignment of 30x20ft container of white crystal sugar ordered from Toyota Tsusho Sugar Ltd., a company based in the UK.”
While offloading the sugar at his shop at Pectin Street in Banjul, she explained, the laborers discovered two loosed bags containing 20 blocks and 6 blocks of what was suspected to be cocaine respectively. “The laborers then inform the buyer (Sidi Ahmed) who also called the attention of the supplier (Mahdi Tajudinn, the sales manager of LFC).”
Ms. Ndimballan said that Mahdi then instructed Ahmed Ali, an employee of LFC to go and verify what was discovered and upon providing feedback, Mahdi came to the scene to see for himself.
She stated that: “Having been shown the blocks, he instructed for the container to be escorted to their warehouse in Bond Road and he then informed his Uncle Muhamed Nasser, the proprietor of Kairaba Shopping Center. Mr. Nasser then contacted Muhamed Zeid (DAA) who advised them to contact DLEAG.”
“On arrival, DLEAG officials weare shown the two bags containing 26 blocks of cocaine. Subsequent search resulted in the discovery of additional two bags containing 10 and 12 blocks of cocaine respectively. At the completion of the search operation, four bags of concealed cocaine were discovered containing (6), (20), (12), (10) blocks, making a total quantity of (48) blocks of cocaine seized from the said container,” she revealed
“Even the most advanced countries with technological advantages; have traffickers beating their systems thereby illicit drugs finding their ways to the illicit markets. West Africa remains vulnerable and the Gambia is not an exception to this threat,” she warned.
DLEAG management, she explained, is aware of this threat and that is why in order to be in line with best practices, “we have a strong command overseeing all our border entry points and working tirelessly to build the capacity of our operatives, while engaging partners on boosting our interdiction capacity in relation to surveillance, gadgets and equipment.”
“The narcotics agency is making gains in building international cooperation aimed at sharing intelligence with both regional and international partners and countries. This, we believe will greatly help make a huge difference.”
She added: “We continue to work towards improving our interdiction capacity.” However, she was quick to appeal for support in relation to some key surveillance and drug detection equipment and other necessary materials that is relevant to their job as narcotic officers.”