The Liberia Narcotics Control Bureau, otherwise known as the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), has intercepted and arrested two foreigners at the Roberts International Airport (RIA), foiling a massive drug deal destined for the country during the inaugural parties, one of the illegal substance conveyors has admitted.
The LDEA had put all of its machinery into action on the eve of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections – up to the December 26 presidential runoff election – when drugs are widely used in rave parties. Acting on this task, the RIA Zonal Unit of the LDEA had put all of its focus on the foreigners coming to the country through the airport to reportedly supply some of the illegal substances.
One of the two foreigners, a 25-year old Nigerian identified as Friday Samuel Mbah, was trying to smuggle into Liberia 23 capsules of pure cocaine in his stomach when he was intercepted on January 13 at the RIA by on duty LDEA agents.
Meanwhile, an X-ray report showed at least two more pellets inside Mbah’s stomach.
He was arrested and held at the medical facility until the drugs were removed from his system. It was not clear if the suspect allegedly ingested the drugs before or after his flight to Liberia.
Mbah is said to have been traveling from Malawi via Kenya Airways #KQ-502, and had a booking at a place in Caldwell, outside Monrovia, with another Nigerian national. LDEA director-general Anthony K. Souh put the estimated street value of Mbah’s ingested narcotic payload at US$16,000, an equivalent of L$2,076, 900.
According to Souh, Mbah had swallowed the 23 tube-like pellets of cocaine from Malawi “to evade our security network at the airport; but to Mbah’s surprise, he landed into our dragnet and was arrested.”
Although suspect Mbah has confessed to using himself as a ‘body courier’ to bring cocaine into the country, he is begging for mercy. However, LDEA information indicates that the suspect was due in Liberia during the election season last year, “and we have been on the lookout for him.”
“He was able to miss several flights from the time our international contacts gave us this information. Now, we got him, thanks to our international network.”
While undergoing preliminary investigation, Mbah gave his investigators the contact numbers of his partner in Liberia, one Joseph Yeaboah, and another Nigerian, alias Solomon, who was lured to the airport and also arrested.
Although suspect Yeaboah is helping the LDEA with their investigation, Souh has said that the two suspects will be sent to court as their respective charge sheet has already been prepared.
“The agency is still on the lookout for more of such smugglers coming to the country. We want to let the word go forth that nobody will take our happiness and peaceful transition of government for granted because we are rejoicing and they think that we have forgotten our mandate,” Souh assured. “Any attempt by anybody who wants to commit crime against our people will be equally disappointed as the two Nigerian nationals.”
In a related development, the LDEA has congratulated President-elect George Weah and Vice President-elect Jewel Howard Taylor for their victory.
The agency believes it was Senator Taylor who, on a lone mission, sponsored the Drug Law Bill through the 53rd Legislature that produced the now Controlled Drug and Substances Act and the LDEA Act—“first of its kind in the country.”