Customs Division busts illicit drug syndicate

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, in collaboration with other security agencies, has intercepted a cache of substances suspected to be illicit drugs from an alleged Nigerian drug syndicate at Kpoglo near Aflao in the Volta Region on Friday.

The team also seized from the syndicate an amount of US$200, 000 comprising 1,946 and 108 pieces of 100 and 50 dollar notes respectively.

The substances now in the custody of the security agencies are six parcels labelled Fatal (767.3g), 45 white pebbles (3,097.1g), 40 blisters of 10 tabs 225mg of tramadol tablets (353.5g), and three cans labelled ‘Praise palm cream’ (2,265.7g) with brown substance sealed in them.

The rest are eight parcels wrapped in brown cellotape (7,743.1g), four parcels wrapped in black polythene (5,079.2g) and 51 parcels wrapped in transparent polythene (5,045g).

Also retrieved from the group is two Nigerian passports with the names Orhoser Endurance and OsibokOcuko Gabriel, First Bank ATM card, an Ecobank cheque booklet, a driver’s license with the name Aminu Saliu Sholadoye.

Commissioner of Customs, Colonel (Rtd)Kwadwo Damoah, briefing the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday said that from their preliminary investigations, “these are substances that could qualify for any of the narcotic drugs. They might be in the high value category of drugs”.

Asked where the suspects who were on board the Toyota Land Cruiser with registration number LSR815 FV which was being used to ferry the substances were, Col (Rtd) Damoah said nobody was arrested in the operation.

“The vehicle pulled up with only the driver but unfortunately, when the officers were busy looking at the items, he (the driver) managed to abscond. They(officers) were interested more in the item and he took advantage and before they could say jack, he had absconded.”

Col (Rtd) explained that the car was being used as a cargo to outsmart the security as cargos were permitted entry into the country despite the closure of the borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

“So the items were concealed under the fuel compartment with spare parts in the vehicle,” he revealed.

Describing the operation as a “major” one, Col (Rtd) Damoah commended the security agencies for the collaboration and hinted that a manhunt would be launched for the driver and his possible accomplices.

“This shows that with collective efforts, we can manage our borders better. This is a major success as far as our efforts are concerned and we commend all the agencies who were part of this operation.”

Other agencies involved were the Ghana Immigration and Police Service, Defence Intelligence and the Bureau of National Investigations.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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