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15.06.2004 General News

Information on Cocaine Dealers came from London

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Accra June 15, GNA - International Security Agencies in London alerted Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) about the activities of the cocaine smuggling syndicate that was busted in Tema with 588.3 kilograms of the hard drug.

Detective Corporal (DC) John Awuni, an investigator in the case, on Tuesday told an Accra High Court that NACOB mounted a year's surveillance on the activities of the accused persons.

The accused persons are: Kevin Gorman, 59, American; Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian; Alan Hodson 45, David Logan 43, Frank Lavelrick 43, all British and 45 year-old Sven Herb, a German. They have been charged with conspiracy and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority. Gorman, Hodson and Lavelrick were additionally charged for importing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health. Gorman was further charged for using his property for narcotic offence.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and are in prison custody.

DC Awuni, who was led in evidence by Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, said on January 6, 2004 he was asked by his superiors to lay surveillance on Gorman and Herb.

Witness said he, therefore, proceeded to Gorman's house at Tema at 1800 hours until 1200 midnight. He trailed Gorman from his house to the Kotoka International Airport, where he went to pick Lavelrick and both of them drove back to the house. He later submitted a report to that effect to his superiors.

DC Awuni said on another occasion he went to Herbs House at Community 11, Tema; "where I positioned myself near the house" and saw Herb leaving in a Ssangyan Musso vehicle with Registration number GT 1718 S.

Defence Counsel at this juncture objected to the evidence of the Witness describing it as an "Ananse Story".

They argued that the evidence could not be verified stressing 'that evidence of the Witness was prejudicial to the case before the Court'.

"The evidence should be of value and not an attempt to invade the privacy of the accused persons. The Constitution frowns on that." They argued.

The Prosecution was of the opinion that the evidence was not invading the privacy of the accused persons. It said the Witness was in court to give evidence that was relevant to the case and in respect of charges levelled against the accused persons.

The Court, presided over by Mr Justice Kusi Appiah, overruled defence counsel's objection.

Continuing with his evidence, DC Awuni said on January 7, 2004, NACOB further mounted an operation together with personnel from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Ghana Police Service. Witness said the team led by Mr Ben Indego, Operation's Commander for the surveillance, went to Gorman's house at dawn.

He said Mr Indego selected five men, who knocked on the door. After Gorman had opened the door, Gorman was told that NACOB had information that he was dealing in drugs and the team had a warrant to search his house.

DC Awuni said Gorman obliged. During the search Hodson, Logan, Lavelrick and two females were found in Gorman's hall. He said after the search in Gorman's house, nothing was found, therefore, Mr Indego asked the team to conduct another search at Gorman's workplace together with some of the accused persons but nothing was found.

Witness said on their return to Gorman's house, they heard the movement of a vehicle that was being driven by Herb, who on seeing the team decided to leave the house but was asked to return.

DC Awuni said while viewing a mirror in the house of Gorman, he (Witness) decided to find out whether, the mirror had been fastened to the wall or it was on wood.

Witness said he, therefore, asked for a screwdriver from the House Help of Gorman and when one of the screws was loosened the place was hollow. DC Awuni said Mr Indego asked Gorman what was behind the mirror and he (Gorman) took a deep breath and replied: "I thought you had seen it."

"When Mr Indego further asked what was hidden there", Witness said Gorman replied: "It was cocaine."

Witness said they retrieved 21 cartons and 27 smaller parcels wrapped in the form of 'Tuna' which when sampled were found to be cocaine. When Gorman was questioned about them, he replied that it was one Yakuba, who brought the parcels to his house for safekeeping for a fee of 50,000 dollars, DC Awuni told the Court.

Witness said Gorman, however, could not tell the team about the whereabouts of Yakuba.

The Prosecution tendered photographs of the house and the parcels through the Witness.