Liberia: Police Bust Smuggled Arms, Ammunition at Freeport
"Boye Benjamin Baker is the one who is sending these military weapons to Liberia. He lives in Texas, USA, and works for an American airline."
A joint security operation has busted a smuggling operation involving caches of firearms and ammunition at the Freeport of Monrovia, police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue disclosed at a press conference on Thursday.
The joint security and intelligence forces identified the ringleader of the smuggling operation as Boye Benjamin Baker, a Liberian who lives in Texas, United States of America, he said.
Barbara Debah, a resident of the Old Road community, and another lady only identified as Melvina were named as Baker’s accomplices. The former was the designated recipient of the consignment while the latter was the clearing officer.
“Boye Benjamin Baker is the one who is sending these military weapons to Liberia. He lives in Texas, USA, and works for an American airline,” Sudue said.
The police described the quantity of the illegal importation as huge and were smuggled into the country in a container.
“We had an Intel on this container. We went to the Freeport to open up this container. In the first three boxes that were opened, we discovered some heavy weapons. We are talking about military weapons,” the police said. said. “So as we speak the container is sealed up we are going to further inspect the entire container.”
According to him, the confiscation was a result of intelligence from several sources — a development that triggered a move by the joint security to proceed to the Freeport.
“We gathered intelligence from various sources and our intelligence led us to the Freeport of Monrovia. We want to thank members of Joint Security and the intelligence team. They were really on top of their game,” he said.
More arms discovered
Less than 12 hours following the Freeport bust, the police said, another joint security operation was carried out at the ringleader’s home in the township of Brewerville during the early morning hours of Thursday, where an additional consignment of smuggled arms was discovered.
Sudue noted that the second seizure was enabled by a search and seizure warrant in connection with a classified leak from an unidentified man claiming to be a Liberian boyfriend of the consignee (name withheld), security officers.
“Boye has a home in Brewerville, so we requested a seizure warrant to search his home and that is how we discovered another consignment of arms in the ceilings of the building,” he said. “An occupant of the house, one Ezekiel Tamba, was caught in the ceiling of the house hiding and we arrested him.
“We were doing everything humanly possible to arrest those culprits involved. Our intelligence also led us to one Barbara who lives on Old Road. She is in contact with the guy who sent these materials on board,” Sudue noted.
“We managed to apprehend her and we also apprehended one Melvina, who is the local representative for this particular company, and, from our investigation, we gathered substantial information from all of them.”
Meanwhile, the LNP said it has also arrested and charged nine persons for property theft, forgery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation, and bribery.
Some of the nine persons, the IG noted, are employees of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), while others are business people. A former police officer was charged for using dubious documents in order to evade taxes, he said.
“These people will go in the bushes, fell the trees, cut rubbers. They use dubious documents in order to evade taxes and they use these documents to ship out Liberia logs.”
Those arrested, according to the IG, include Benjamin Lee, Korean National, Diada Zayzay, a former police officer, Isaac Rayly, and Peter Karded. Others are Daniel Tweh, Prince Wallace, Varney Marshall, Edwin K. Jallah, and a man only identified as Aska.
“We have charged nine persons, whose charges range from property theft, forgery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation, and bribery,” he said.