Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gambia; Cocaine Worth over US$1 Billion sized from 12 Suspects

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB) -The National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) of The Gambia has successfully made one of the biggest drug seizures in Gambian history in their quest to make the country a drug-free environment following the arrest of 12 suspects on Tuesday.

The suspects were said to have been involved in trafficking over 2 tonnes, 340kgs, 500 grams of cocaine worth over US$1 billion which was stored in a warehouse in Bonto and at the Baobab Island in Kuloro, Kombo East, Western Region.

The suspects are: Varela Fernando, a Cape Verde/ Dutch national; Rudy Rasoalhamid Ghazi, a Dutch national; Godwin Barset, a Ghanaian/Sierra Leonean national; Maimuna Sesay, a Nigerian/Sierra Leonean national; Jorge Ivan Sanchez-Tabares, a Mexican/Liberian national; Dennis Wilgo Winter, a Dutch national, Ephiam Micheal Chidubem, a Nigerian; and Juan Carlos Sanchez Eric Porping, Luis Dose Fermin, Esledan Zuala, George Ivan Sanchez Juan Carlos Diaz, all Venezuelan nationals.

In narrating the full story to journalists, Chief Inspector Abdoulie Ceesay, Public Relation Officer of NDEA said the first incident happened on the 12th May 2010 when the National Drug Enforcement Agency officers at the Brufut Police Intervention Unit (PIU) Station got a tip-off that some Nigerians residing in Brusubi, Taf Estate were suspected of dealing in illicit drugs. A team of officers were dispatched to the site and upon arrival, they met one Maimuna Sesay, claiming to be a Nigerian/Sierra Leonean national. She was there with one Varela Fernando from Cape Verde and Godwin Barset, a Ghanaian. These three individuals were found in the house. The officer introduced themselves and told them that they (3 of them] where suspected of involving in drug dealing which they cooperated in the investigation.

During the search, he went on, his men recovered 3 parcels weighing 3kg, 360grams. The three suspects were then arrested and questioned about the source of the cocaine. During interrogation, they revealed that they got it from one Ephiam Micheal Chidubem, a Nigerian national who was lodged at Coco Ocean Hotel.

He continued, the officers went to Coco Ocean and met Ephiam Micheal Chidubem who was arrested and interrogated about the issue. He later admitted giving 1 kilo to Maimuna Sesay. He (Ephiam Micheal Chidubem) was asked about the source of the cocaine and he confessed that Carlos Sanchez, a Venezuelan national gave it to him. When asked about the whereabout of Carlos Sanchez, he said he did not know where Sanchez was residing. On the request of the officers, Ephiam Micheal Chidubem called Carlos Sanchez to meet him in the hotel as if they where conducting normal business. When Carlos Sanchez came, the officers arrested him and both of them were escorted to the NDEA office in Kanifing for further investigation.

According to him, during further investigations, the officers went to Carlos Sanchez's residence in Kotu and conducted a search but nothing was found in the compound. During the search, a white Ford pick-up (American type) appeared around the vicinity and immediately when they noticed the presence of the officers in the compound, they fled. The community alerted the officers and they chased the vehicle and could not apprehend them.

But later, "the investigation led the officers to the Hol-Gam Company where Carlos Sanchez is a shareholder and surprisingly after reaching the Hol-Gam Company, the officers saw the same Ford pick-up that was seen at the residence of Carlos Sanchez parked inside the premises of Hol-Gam Company. The officers asked who parked the vehicle and it was revealed that Juan Carlos Diaz and Luis Dose Fermin, both Venezuelan nationals, drove the vehicle into the premises. They were found there by the officers and later arrested . The officers later met the managing director of the company, one Rudy Rasoelhamid Ghazi, a Dutch national. At that point, the three were arrested and taken for interrogations," he explained.

Later in the investigations, "it was revealed that they have a warehouse in Bonto and another one at the Baobab Island in Kuloro in Kombo East,Western Region. A team was dispatched to Bonto and Kuloro and upon arrival at Bonto, vehicles were found parked at the site and communication handsets, satellite phones and Global Positioning System (GPS) were recovered. When the officers proceeded to Kuloro, they found reflectors and other items that they thought might have been used in the sea during their transactions."

When that happened, PRO Ceesay said the executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency deemed it necessary to invite the Inspector General of Police, the director general of the National Intelligence Agency and the chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces and created an investigating panel comprising of all these sister forces to look into this very particular issue.

On Friday June 4th, 2010, the investigations revealed that there was a Bunka in Bonto were they kept 2 tonnes, 340kgs and 500grams of cocaine. Latest and sophisticated weapons and hundreds of thousands of Euros were also recovered at the Baobab Island in Kuloro."

Stern warning
Meanwhile,Benedict Jammeh, the executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency has warned that any NDEA officer found dealing in drugs will be fired. He also warned the people to restrain from the usGambia; Cocaine Worth over US$1 Billion sized from 12 Suspects e of drugs or else they will face the full force of the law when found in possession of any illicit drug. He finally commended the NDEA for carrying out the whole operation successfully.

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