The Director-General of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Anthony K. Souh, said during this year alone, the agency effected 82 arrests of suspected illicit drug peddlers, among them some officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) as well as several foreign nationals.
Of the number of arrests, Director Souh said his administration processed 15 “major cases,” with those connected to the cases sent to court.
As a matter of maintaining discipline and integrity in the agency, the director-general on November 16 took some administrative and operational actions aimed at improving the image of the LDEA when he dismissed five senior officers for “Acts they committed incompatible with the code of conduct of the institution and also against the criminal laws of the country.”
“What we want the public to know, at least as part of our operations, is that the LDEA does not arrest and prosecute. We arrest and send the suspects to court through the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), who represents our legal interest, and then we are used as witnesses to testify,” Director Souh said.
On the merits of the number of arrest, he said in early February 2015, LDEA agents discovered and arrested a commercial vehicle near the Iron Gate in Gbarnga, Bong County, with 457kg of home-grown marijuana, which amounted to L$5,255,500 or US$62,565. He said the owner of the vehicle reportedly escaped, while his passengers were going through Ebola preventive formalities. The seized drugs, he said, are in the custody of the Bong County Satellite Command.
Also in March, Director Souh said the detachment in Nimba County arrested one Meko Lanko, 22, with 15.5g of heroin valued L$455,700 amounting to US$5,425. “We investigated suspect Lanko, charged and forwarded him to Ganta Magisterial Court for prosecution,” the Director said.
In April of the year under review, the LDEA, said the Director, arrested two officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) in Grand Cape Mount County with 179kg of marijuana valued at L$2,058,500 or US$24,505 on board a police vehicle marked: GSA-02-217 with plate number 2404.
“The two officers, who were later identified as Alfred Teah and John Moore, escaped the scene with the vehicle,” Souh said.
In a report released under the title, “Updates of Major Cases Handled During the Year Under Review 2015,” Director Souh said in May, the LDEA arrested a Nigerian identified as Kingsley Okechukmu in the ELWA Community with 266.9g of cocaine, which was valued at LS$1,569,372 or US$18,683. The suspect, Souh said, “Was accordingly investigated, charged and forwarded to the Paynesville Magisterial Court.”
“We arrested one Christopher ND, and Collins, alias Power Emeka, both Nigerian nationals in June with 105 grams of cocaine valued L$617,400 or US$7,350, in Brewerville, Montserrado County, and forwarded the two suspects to the Brewerville Magisterial Court,” Director Souh said.
The LDEA he said made another arrest on June 25, which involved a female suspect Comfort Wleh, a resident of Monrovia with 484.4 grams of heroin, which the suspect claimed was sent to her via DHL with tracking number 5506690814 from Kampala, Uganda. The drug was valued at LS$1 million or US$14,000. The suspect was investigated, charged and sent to the Monrovia City Court, Temple of Justice.
“The Grand Jury of Criminal Court ‘C’ has indicted six other persons allegedly connected to the drug trafficking,” Mr. Souh said.
He reported the arrest of two senior BIN officers, who were identified as Colonel Charles Brooks and Major George Wakpah with 20kg of marijuana at the Clay Check Point on June 30. As usual, the two suspects were investigated and sent to the Tubmanburg Magisterial Court, Bomi County.