The Director of Liberia’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Anthony K. Souh, has decried what he termed as “impediments to the fight against illicit drugs in the country.”
Since its creation by an Act of Legislature, the DEA has been struggling to gain traction due to the lack of a proper legal framework and logistical support to the agency, says Mr. Souh.
DEA needs the required logistics and trained manpower if it is to meet public expectations in terms of limiting the power of those engaged in the illicit drug trade against our national security, health and economic interests, Director Souh explained.
Souh made those comments in a statement of appreciation to authorities of the United Nations Organization on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in Monrovia who recently donated several vehicles and equipment to the DEA.
UNODC Representative to Liberia, Jesus Agvilar Cereno, on making the presentations said the donations to the DEA signify a strong dedication and collective commitment to building a modern, efficient internal security and criminal investigation system.
The equipment and two vehicles, valued at US$80,000, are to further empower the DEA to cope with challenges of transnational crime, organized crime, and drug trafficking that are taking advantage of the country’s vulnerabilities, which can undermine the country’s stability and development efforts, said Mr. Cereno.
The donation has added impetus to the work of the agency, said Director Souh, declaring that fighting drug- related crimes is critical to the stability and security of the country.
He said drug abuse is deadly and needs to be addressed decisively to prevent obstruction to national security interests.
UNODC is an agency of the UN that is leading in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime with the mandate to assist member states in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism jointly with international partners, notably the US State Department and the US Embassy accredited near Monrovia.
The US has committed to enhancing the security sector, including the DEA and the Trans International Crime Unit (TCU) to be efficient and reliable antinarcotics and anti-organized crime agencies.
The presentation was witnessed by several government officials including the Assistant Justice Minister for Administration, Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, who received the keys to the donated vehicles and later presented them to DEA Director Souh.
She admonished that the donations, particularly the vehicles, should be maintained and used for the intended purposes.