DLEAG makes biggest cocaine seizures at airport, 5 suspects arrested

Jul 5, 2024, 10:18 AM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Operatives of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency-The Gambia (DLEAG) attached to the Banjul International Airport, on 29 June 2024 arrested four Portuguese ladies with 30 blocks of cocaine; weight 33kg 600g during the departure operation of Vueling flight number VY 7575 to Barcelona, Spain, The Point has been reliably informed.

 The suspects, Cabral Roel Vilma, Tavares Mendes Miriam Maria, Dos Santos Furtado Ana Patricia and Almada Martins Simara Nadiny are currently detained by the narcotics agency as investigation into the matter continues.

Similarly, on Sunday 30 June 2024 a Briton - Mark James Robinson was arrested with 24 blocks of cocaine weighing 27kg 300g in his checked-in luggage.  He was travelling to London Heathrow via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines.

Both interceptions were supported by a highly coordinated intelligence-led action. “The two successive seizures within 24 hours are the biggest Airport seizure in the history” of illicit drug catch in the country.

Bakary Gassama, the director general of the country’s narcotics agency, has confirmed the development, saying: “This goes to demonstrate the vigorous Counter Narcotics interdiction mechanism at the Banjul International Airport. This wave of seizures does not only manifest our effectiveness but also an indication of the scale of the threat of international drug trafficking through the West African Corridor.

“The seizures are yet again a confirmation of the immense pressure the West African Region is under – being used as a transit point on the cocaine route. However, the resilience of the regional law enforcement community is impressively frustrating the operations of international drug trafficking organisations operating on this route.”

 The seizure, he added, was a disruption on the supply chain, saving millions of lives in destination countries.

“The Gambia, like other West African States, remains vulnerable to the activities of these criminal organisations. However, our successes at both the air- and seaport is a clear testament of the Government’s commitment and unreserved political will to confront criminals of all sorts and bring them to justice.”

Mr Gassama said that over the years, DLEAG has been “empowered by the requisite budgetary support” to effectively enforce the “stringent” drug laws of the country.