Liberia: Karnplay Magisterial Court Sentences Two Drug Suspects

— Rare instance reveals that most drug cases in rural courts never reach conviction

The Karnplay Magisterial Court has sentenced two narcotic drug users to 12 months in jail after they were arrested with huge quantities of marijuana.

According to the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) Nimba Detachment, the two men were arrested and forwarded to court on November 22 and subsequently tried and convicted on November 28, for which the LDEA expressed tremendous gratitude.

“We are grateful to the Karnplay Magisterial Court for being the first lower court to convict narcotic drug users in the fight against drugs,” said LDEA Nimba Commander SAG-3, Thomas T. Saye.

“We sent five cases to the Ganta Magisterial Court and these cases are still pending. But we are very happy with the Karnplay Court for being so speedy in the trial, which left these guys in jail for the next 12 months,” he said.

Those convicted include, Chidi Iyanwuluwas, a Nigerian and David Peters, a Liberian, both residents of Karnplay.

The both men were charged with several counts, including unlicensed sale, trade, administration, dispensation, dispatching transit drug and control drugs and substances.

The conviction of these men for drug abuse, especially marijuana, brought shock to many because, since the LDEA was established, no one has been convicted in the lower court like what took place at the Magisterial court last month in Karnplay.

The LDEA has sent to court for trial a number of suspects for their involvement with dangerous substances such as cocaine and other narcotics with the carriers. However, in nearly all such cases, the suspects were freed on bail and nothing was heard about such cases anymore. 

“The fight against drugs is everybody’s business and we are appealing to the citizens to report any drug-related abuse to the LDEA,” the LDEA Nimba Commander Saye said.

In a related development, the LDEA has arrested an Ivorian man for assaulting an LDEA agent near the Ivorian border in Buutuo, while trying to apprehend him for being in possession of bags of marijuana.

The man, Gounklo Camus, along with two of his accomplices, Landren Yarten and Paul Karngbay, were seen carrying on marijuana drug transaction but, upon noticing that LDEA agents were around, two of the men (Landren and Paul) immediately jumped into the river and crossed over to the Ivory Coast.

But, before Gounklo Camus could follow his friends, the officers had already surrounded him. He then took a cutlass and chopped one of the LDEA Officers on the right side of his stomach, below his rib cage, severely wounding the officer.

Camus was arrested and is awaiting court trial at the Sanniquellie Magisterial Court, while the officer is undergoing medical treatment at the nearby hospital.

Paul Karngbay is a Liberian from Buutuo, who owns a marijuana farm, where Ivorians usually cross over to purchase drugs from him.