By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) through its director general, Michael Zeyhou, is linking an unidentified Kenya national to the shipment of cocaine valued at US$37 million to Liberia.
The drugs were confiscated at the Freeport of Monrovia in what’s said to be the second-largest drug bust here in recent history. The latest catch occurred on Monday, January 30, 2023, by officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) after tipoff by a whistleblower.
On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and its collaborating partners witnessed the burning of the drugs at the military barracks, the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.
LDEA director Zehyou said, no arrest has been made from the record second largest cocaine confiscated in the country’s history, but swiftly noted that an unknown Kenyan syndicate is allegedly behind the latest smuggling of drugs to Liberia, as a number belonging to that East African country was traced during arrest, after a tipoff from its partner TRH Trading Corporation that, according to him, alerted the Agency which led to the confiscation of the drugs.
Zehyou told reporters covering the burning of the drugs at the Barclay Training Center that TRH Trading Corporation, the largest importer of Frozen Food in Liberia is the whistleblower.
He explained that brokers of the corporation assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia informed management that an unknown caller with a number originating from Kenya, had requested that they had goods kept in the Storage of the TRH Trading Corporation and wanted it removed.
He said investigation is ongoing as the purported Kenyan number has been traced, and lauded TRH Corporation and partners for their cooperation in the latest confiscation.
He stressed that the LDEA will continue to remain robust in the fight against drug trafficking and other narcotic substances while noting that the Agency has always been in the vanguard to curtail importation of illicit substances here.
Zehyou described the confiscation of the US$37 million consignment as a clear manifestation and milestone achievement in the history of Liberia while emphasizing that the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency has made significant efforts in the past few months towards curtailing drugs and other narcotics.
Liberia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, warned traffickers invading Liberian territories to desist, threatening that the Government of Liberia will take severe punishment on anyone caught.
Minister Dean stressed that the burning of the drugs by the LDEA clearly demonstrates government’s commitment to the fight against contraband.
“We are working around the clock. We cannot say all we are doing but we want to alert those who will think Liberia is either a final destination or a transit point to rethink or think twice. We are building our capacity and we want to assure them that they will be caught and punished by government,” the Attorney General emphasized.
According to him, Liberia is making progress, stating that the government is succeeding in the fight against drug trafficking while assuring the public that government along with partners will incapacitate drug traffickers as a means of safeguarding the citizenry.
Meanwhile, Cllr. Dean has announced February 15, 2023, as a date set to commence trial of suspects arrested from the US$100 million cocaine busted in October 2022.
Guinea-Bissau national, Malam Conte, Brazilian Gustavo Henrique, Portuguese Adulai Djibril, and Lebanese Issam Makki, were held in detention as part of an investigation.
According to the LDEA, the latest cocaine consignment was stashed in a frozen food warehouse at the Freeport of Monrovia that belongs to TRH Trading Corporation, was stocked in 11 cartoons weighing approximately 197 kilograms, valued at US$37,884,479.00.
Last week’s arrest and the October 2022 discovery bring to nearly US$140 million, the worth of narcotic substances that have been easily transited thru Liberia under the Weah administration in just three months.
Liberians are yet to see full prosecution of cartels trading these substances and their illegal entry here, without a proper check.
Questions are in the air about security at the nation’s main port, given frequent discovery of drugs and arms there.
In January, huge cache of assorted arms, including automatic rifles entered the country through the Freeport of Monrovia in a forty-foot container before it was subsequently confiscated by the Police.