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GeneralLiberia news

‘No higher-up linked’ to RIA drugs’

--GoL says

The Liberian government says an active investigation is ongoing into the discovery of drugs at the Roberts International Airport (RIA), but notes that no higher-up is linked to its importation.

The head of Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and officials of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) addressed the media over the weekend to provide an update on the drugs saga at RIA.

At the press conference, Mr. Michael Zehyoue, the LDEA Boss, said there was no higher-ups involved in the importation of the methamphetamine, [recreational drugs taken for enjoyment rather than medication] seized recently at RIA.

But he said an active investigation is ongoing regarding the drug burst.

Among those being investigated, he said, are the head of Security at RIA following his suspension and turning it over to the LDEA.

He also said others being investigated are a supervisor of RIA security department, the consignee, Stephene Daniel, and Hinneh Kollie, an operative within RIA security department.

“So, like I said there is no higher-up connected to this drug saga at the airport. We have already told you the original consignee. We’ve reached out to Kenyan Airways, and the document Kenya Airways gave us is authentic. This is the consignee is Stephen Daniel. No higher-up linked to it,” said Mr. Zehyoue.

Mr. Zehyoue explained that the worth of the ten boxes that contained 120 kilo of drugs is US$880,000.

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Earlier at the press conference, Mr. Boakai Fofana, Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services, explained that the shipper of the controlled substance is one Hassan Omar, referencing a document that government got from Kenya Airways.

He added that other authorities also can confirmed that the drugs were designated to be received by Stephne Daniels.

Last week, Liberia’s Justice Ministry confirmed that methamphetamine, [recreational drugs taken for enjoyment rather than medication], was present in the consignment of boxes intercepted at the RIA.

Through a press release dated 12 September 2023, the Liberian Government confirmed that the consignment of boxes containing herbal plants – packaged and in natural form – at the RIA reveals the presence of methamphetamine.

The boxes in question were initially believed to contain herbal plants in their natural form, though there was a public outcry against the initial account. 

Methamphetamine, commonly known as “meth,” is a powerful and highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. According to research, it is a synthetic drug that affects the brain and body, leading to increased alertness, energy, and a sense of euphoria.

Methamphetamine is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but methamphetamine is much more potent and has a higher potential for abuse.

Methamphetamine is typically sold as a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that can be ingested orally, snorted, smoked, or injected. Its street names include “meth,” “crystal,” “crystal meth,” “ice,” and “crank.”

Research has stated that the use of methamphetamine can have serious and harmful effects on a person’s physical and mental health. Short-term effects may include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, decreased appetite, and a heightened sense of well-being. 

The Ministry of Information in Monrovia said Tuesday, 12 September 2023 that the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency conducted an in-depth investigation, uncovering the illicit methamphetamine, a substance known for its high potential for harm.

Under the signature of Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie, the release said Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musah Dean Jr. has taken immediate action in response to this alarming revelation.

The release said Cllr. Dean has issued directives to the Joint Security of Liberia including the LDEA, the Liberian National Police (LNP), and the National Security Agency (NSA) to intensify their investigations into the importation of these perilous drugs.

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