Liberia: ‘Main Culprit Behind Drugs Bust at RIA Arrested’

 Stephen Daniels the main culprit behind the methamphetamine drug seized at the RIA.

— Says the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency

The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has apprehended Stephen Daniels as the main culprit behind the importation of a substantial quantity of methamphetamines at the Roberts International Airport. 

The revelation comes after a joint security inspection team initially suspected the contents of boxes to be Moringa tea based on their packaging on Monday.   

However, laboratory testing later conducted by the LDEA revealed the presence of illicit methamphetamine drugs, whose consumption remains illegal in Liberia.

According to Michael Geeplay, the LDEA Director of Communications, Daniels is an employee of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications as well as Kenya Airways in Liberia. 

“Samuel Freeman, the airport's suspended security director, is in our custody, and we also have Stephen Daniels, the alleged original consignee,” Geeplay said in a phone interview. Daniels was picked up yesterday, Thursday. According to the information, he worked for the Post, and Telecommunications and Kenya Airways worked together.”

“So, he is always around the airport facilities, and his interrogation will begin today, but as for Samuel Freeman, he was brought in yesterday by his lawyer, and the investigator took some statements from him, which precipitated their move to the airport facility as well as the customs warehouse to ascertain some important information,” he added.

Geeplay’s revelation comes just a day after the state had identified Freeman and Sam Saryon (not the NSA Deputy Director) as suspects.

The duo are believed to have played key roles in the attempt to smuggle the illicit drug through the country's busiest international airport.  

Freeman, the suspended Director of Security at the Airport is being accused of attempting to smuggle the ten confiscated boxes from the tarmac through an unauthorized gate.

As for Saryon, he works as a Cargo Officer at Jos Travel, which is the general sales agent for Kenya Airways tickets in Liberia.  

Methamphetamine, which is banned under the rules of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes, is a significantly addictive drug that has side effects that can be severe and damaging in both the short- and long-term. 

It affects the brain, leading to an intense rush of euphoria and increased energy levels. Users often experience increased aggression, paranoia, and violent behavior, posing potential harm to themselves and others.

Meanwhile, the LDEA has received from the Liberia Revenue Authority the confiscated ten boxes as the statutory authority on drug enforcement. The handover, which took place on September 13, follows last week’s seizure of illicit drugs by soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia stationed at the airport. 

The soldiers had initially handed over to Customs authorities the consignment since it was allegedly being smuggled through an unauthorized gate.

Early this week, the Minister of Information, Ledgerhood Rennie disclosed that the government was confirming that the consignment of boxes intercepted containing herbal plants — packaged and in natural form at the airport reveals a presence of methamphetamine.

Rennie added, “As part of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency’s investigation, which included scientific examination, samples tested revealed the presence of the illicit drug.”

Rennie’s position came amidst serious public concerns among Liberians about how sincere the government might be in tackling the growing drug trade and abuse within the country.

He, however, claimed that the government has pledged to take swift action to bring those responsible to justice, emphasizing the need to curb the proliferation of drugs in Liberia.

“The Minister of Justice Cllr. Frank Musah Dean has with immediate effect ordered the Joint Security of Liberia, as well as the LDEA, LNP, and the NSA, to expand their investigations on the importation of illegal drugs with the aim of bringing to justice all those involved.

“The public will be duly updated as progress is made on the investigation and in the wider fight against illicit drugs and transnational criminals,” Rennie noted.