Authorities of the Liberian Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) have arrested a Nigerian National and three Liberians, who the LDEA classified as “collaborators” to the drug syndicate.
The arrest of the four suspects, according to LDEA Director-General, Anthony K. Souh, came in the wake of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown by June this year for which the LDEA says it has stepped up the fight to curtail the reported proliferation of illicit drugs into the country.
Director Souh informed a news conference on Tuesday at his office of the arrest of Chukwud Samuels Onuoha, a Nigerian national, on March 10 along with three of his alleged “Liberian collaborators” at the Robert International Airport (RIA).
The Liberians are identified as George Campbell, who is a proprietor of Campbell Clearing and Forwarding Company with offices at the SOS Junction in Matadi Estate in Monrovia; Joseph Allison, field agent of the company and a lady identified as Yassah D. Kollie.
Souh further identified Yassah as the person the consignment of 4 kilograms of heroin with the street value of US$148,000, was addressed to, at her Matadi residence in Monrovia with her Lonestar GSM mobile phone numbers.
The consignment, Director Souh said, arrived at RIA on board Kenya Airways Flight number KQ-5593 on March 10, but LDEA officers subsequently arrested a carton containing the heroin.
“Acting upon real-time intelligence, the LDEA’s RIA detachment alerted other joint security officers during which time Onuoha and his three collaborators were arrested,” Dirctor Souh disclosed.
But the consignment, he said was concealed in half a dozen body crème jars marked: “Clere cocoa butter body crème.”
According to him, during the investigation, all parties were represented by their respective legal counsels, who also “cooperated” to the end of the investigation.
He added that there are ongoing alterations of the illicit drugs into what security have discovered and identified as “chemical diversion” through which the framers transformed “common pain killers to illicit drugs.”
“By those diversions, it is believed that suspect Onouha and collaborators surreptitiously replaced common body crème to harmful substances that could easily destroy human skin,” Souh said.
Those suspects, he said, will be turned over by the LDEA to the Magisterial Court in Margibi County where the crime was committed.
Meanwhile, suspect Onuoha has admitted importing the drugs into the country, but was pleading for mercy, “Because I was misled by a Nigerian friend at the airport.”
Campbell and Allison denied any knowledge of the heroin, adding that they were ‘mere clearing agents.’
Yassah Kollie admitted that it was her full identity inscribed on the carton containing the illicit substances. She also admitted being in relationship with a Nigerian national, but claimed the LDEA had copied from her facebook page all other information about her only to tarnish her reputation.
In a related development, Director Souh disclosed that the end users of those harmful substances are the victims of those drugs, adding, “They are not the traffickers, but they are dangerous to society as one can see from what is happening in the country owing to the proliferation of crimes.”
He also confirmed receiving complaints of ghettos being erected almost in all communities across the country, but decried poor legislation that has not fully empowered the LDEA to arrest and prosecute drug traffickers.
“We’ve made several arrests, sent the suspects to court, but again, it is the court that adjudicate those cases and disposed of them,” he noted.