Home > Two Tonnes of Cocaine Seized > Two Half Tonnes of Cocaine Seized in The Gambia

Two Half Tonnes of Cocaine Seized in The Gambia

At least two tonnes of cocaine with a street value estimated at $1bn has been seized in The Gambia, bound for Europe.

In addition to the huge haul of drugs, the Gambian authorities have arrested a dozen suspected traffickers, and seized large quantities of cash and arms.

Gambian investigators made the first arrests then called in British agents to gather forensic evidence.

West Africa has become a major transit hub for trafficking Latin American drugs to markets in Europe.

Drugs cartels are taking advantage of the region’s poverty and weak security and judicial systems.

Agents from the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency – the rough equivalent of the US FBI – helped discover the haul of highly concentrated cocaine behind a false wall in a warehouse basement an hour’s drive from the Gambian capital, Banjul.

Update

The Gambia has sentenced eight foreigners to 50 years each in prison for trying to smuggle over two tonnes of cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

The eight – four Venezuelans, two Dutch, a Nigerian and a Mexican – were held last year in a fishing village following the seizure of the cocaine.


Another suspect – a Venezuelan – died in jail on Sunday, days before a court passed the sentence. The West African state is a notorious transit point for drug traffickers.

In his judgement, Magistrate Lamin Tabally said The Gambia was determined to curb trafficking.

“The Gambian government has made its position known on issues relating to drug trafficking and, as a result, I am going to send a signal to other drug traffickers that The Gambia is a no-go area for them,” he said.

Harsher laws
One of the accused men, Dose Fermin, died at a prison in the capital, Banjul, on Sunday of natural causes, said the prison’s chief medical officer, Babucar Jatta.

They were arrested in June 2010 in a fishing village near Banjul after 2.1 tonnes of cocaine was found hidden in a warehouse belonging to a fishing company.

Last year, Attorney General Edward Anthony Gomez said the government would introduce harsher laws to curb the illegal drug trade, including the death penalty for anyone convicted of possessing more than 250g of cocaine or heroin.

The West African coast has emerged as a busy route for drugs from Latin America to Europe, with cartels taking advantage of the region’s poverty and weak judicial systems.

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