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04.06.2007 Crime & Punishment

Cocaine • Nine Cops, Five Suspected Dealers Busted

Cocaine • Nine Cops, Five Suspected Dealers Busted

Nine police officers have been busted and interdicted on suspicion of their involvement in cocaine trade.

Police sources said the officers deserted their posts in Accra to escort five suspected dealers to Half Assini to retrieve parcels of cocaine that had been washed ashore the Gulf of Guinea.

The sources said the nine policemen, who were armed with AK 47 assault rifles, pistols and several rounds of ammunition for their intended operation at Nyamebekyere-Mile 32, a Police/CEPS checkpoint at Apremdo, near Takoradi in the Western Region, had been interdicted.

This brings to 50 the number of police personnel who have been interdicted for various acts of misconduct within a month of the launch of an exercise to flush out drug-tainted nuts from the service.

Five other suspected drug dealers have been arrested while five saloon cars that were being used by the suspects at the time of their arrest have been impounded.

The affected policemen are L/Cpl Ben Somuah, G/L/Cpl Ebenezer Quao Afatsao and L/Cpl Daniel Kagya, all of the Armoured Car Squadron in Accra; G/Cpl George Obuobi of the Darkuman Police Station and G/Constable John Mensah-Grey of the Service Workshop attached to the Regional Headquarters, Accra.

The others are G/Constable Cudjoe Mensah, L/Cpl Gideon Sakabito and G/Constable Dennis Agyeman, all of the La Police Station.

The suspected drug dealers are Eric Asamoah, 35, a businessman and a resident of London; Kwame Attah Yeboah, 33, a car dealer; Kodjo Annim alias Olympio, 35, a businessman; Alex Addo, 36, a car dealer, and Kwasi Kumeke, 27, a businessman, all from Accra.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, confirmed the story and said following the event, a high-powered delegation from the Organised Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, led by the Deputy Director General of the CID, Mr Patrick Timbilla, had been dispatched to the area.

He said for sometime now the security agencies had been receiving information that a vessel from an unidentified origin had discharged some parcels of substances suspected to be cocaine into the Atlantic Ocean and believed the parcels would be washed ashore on the west coast of Ghana, especially in the Western Region.

The IGP said the information further had it that a number of suspected drug dealers mainly from Accra had been marauding along the beaches from Sekondi to Half-Assini and paying huge sums of money to fishermen and persons along the beaches to assist to retrieve the parcels.

He said the security personnel at the various checkpoints were put on high alert while a number of policemen were quickly deployed to beef up security at all the checkpoints in the region in order to track them down.

Those positioned at the Apremdo Police Checkpoint near Takoradi spotted a BMW 4X4 with a DVLA number plate, a VW Golf with registration number GE 9487 X, a Nissan Sentra with registration number GW 6309 X and Geo Prism saloon car with registration number GE 4501 W and intercepted them while in a convoy.

The IGP said the vehicles were thoroughly searched but nothing incriminating was found in them. However, the occupants were highly suspected to be dealers who were being given protection and security by the police officers.

Further investigations indicated that two of the suspected persons, Kodjo Annim and Eric Asamoah, were known dealers in Accra.

On June 1, 2007 all the suspects were arraigned before the District Magistrate's Court at Sekondi and were remanded in police custody to reappear on June 14, 2007.

Mr Acheampong said on June 1, 2007, at about 9:45 a.m. an unregistered Nissan Primera saloon car was also spotted at Samenye Barrier at the Elubo-Half-Assini junction and when it was stopped for inspection the driver sped off.

He said a message was sent out to other checkpoints to look for and arrest the occupants of the vehicle and on the same day at 11:00 a.m., the vehicle pulled up at the Nyamebekyere-Mile 32 Police/CEPS Checkpoint on the Takoradi-Axim road.

The IGP said the occupants of the vehicle comprised three policemen and two civilians and the three policemen first alighted from the vehicle leaving the two civilians that included the driver.

He said while the driver was being directed to park properly for the vehicle to be searched he reversed at top speed and sped off towards Axim leaving the policemen behind.

The policemen were consequently arrested and handed over to the Regional CID, Sekondi and on June 2, 2007 the unregistered Nissan Primera with a trial number plate was found abandoned in the bush on the outskirts of Nsein near Axim.

A search in the bush by the police revealed two AK 47 assault rifles and magazines loaded with seven and four rounds of ammunition respectively.

The three policemen were also remanded in prison custody by the District Magistrate's Court in Sekondi to reappear on June 14, 2007.

Story by Mary Mensah

& Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu