As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues on its drawdown process to turn over the country’s security responsibilities to the Government of Liberia by June 30, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has confirmed its preparedness to handle and execute its mandate responsibly.
Anthony K. Souh, the Director General of LDEA, made the assertion yesterday at the Information Ministry’s regular press briefing held on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
Based on the Amended Act of 1999, Director Souh said, the LDEA is responsible to effectively and efficiently enforce all legal provisions against drugs or like substances, and or control precursors and essential chemicals, as provided under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of 2014.
“By these mandates, the LDEA has taken steps to professionalize the agency with the view of providing an adequate and efficient drug law enforcement agency, built upon five internationally standardized components or pillars, such as adequate and efficient legal framework; drug demand reduction; control of illicit drug supply; reduction strategies; and policing the country’s territorial limits,” he said.
In compliance with internationally standardized practices, Mr. Souh said government has enacted and passed into law one of the best drug laws on the African continent, which takes into consideration all of the five pillars, and is now embedded into the national legal framework of Liberia.
“In an effort to professionalize and prepare for statutory functions and adequately address the UNMIL drawdown, LDEA has taken some actions such as deploying officers and establishing a detachment at the RIA, and has lived up to its mandate by policing the airport against illicit trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances,” he noted.
He continued, “In December of 2015, the LDEA was blessed with a Global e-Learning Laboratory donated by the Bureau of International Counter Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US State Department through UNODC. This is a first of its kind in Africa. The lab is equipped with
90 modules on specialized law enforcement and other professional courses.”
Director Souh said the professional courses include border management for land control, intelligence, investigation techniques, anti-corruption investigation, and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which he described as a blessing for Liberia’s security.
He added that there have been several training opportunities, both locally and internationally, for LDEA officers that began last October, with one LDEA officer shortlisted for the Irish Aid Scholarship program to study M.Sc in Applied Science Research at the Trinity College in Dublin.
“During the period under review we made 77 arrests, comprising 58 men and 19 women, and seized 9,733.5 kilograms of marijuana with estimated street value of 198,235 Liberian dollars.
“Also 4 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated value of 176,279 United States dollars, 6.2 kilograms of heroin valued at 205,014 United States dollars, as well as 1.5 kilograms of precursor chemicals worth 8,942 United States dollars, were seized during 2015,” he said.
According to him, high profile arrests were made by officers of the LDEA this year.
People and items arrested included a 32 years old Nigerian male who allegedly swallowed 3,733 grams of heroin valued at US$148,000.