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22.05.2006 Crime & Punishment

Another Cocaine Haul Busted

Another Cocaine Haul Busted

The police have intercepted large quantities of a substance suspected to be cocaine at the Prampram beach.

The haul, whose street value is estimated at millions of dollars, is believed to be one of the biggest in the country in recent times.

It was being carted from the Prampram beach to Accra in a blue-black Mercedes Benz bus, with registration number GW 1243 X, when it was intercepted on the Ningo-Prampram Road.

Security sources told the Daily Graphic that the ship conveying the drug might have docked on the high seas and the cargo carted to the shore by dinghies which were first spotted early Saturday.

“The driver of the vehicle, a Nigerian, has been arrested and a Toyota saloon car, with registration number GR 1742 X, which had been abandoned on the Ningo Road, with $10,000 in it, has also been impounded, together with the money,” the police said.

The Tema Regional Police Commander, ACP Daniel Odai, briefed the press in Tema yesterday about the latest interception of cocaine after concerns had been raised by the Police Administration that the country's ports and coastline were being used as transit points for drug trafficking.

He said the police held a meeting with the fisher folk along the coast from Tema to Ada to assist them in dealing with the situation, adding that they had information at about 12:45 p.m. yesterday that a Benz bus was loading some items at Ahwiam beach, near Old Ningo.

He said the Old Ningo Police proceeded to a spot along the Ningo-Prampram Road and mounted a road block in order to intercept the drug.

No sooner had the barrier been mounted than the bus loaded with the drugs approached it, and when the driver was signalled to stop, he pretended to be slowing down but sped off.

He said the police gave him a hot chase, while the Buffalo Unit of the Tema Police was called in to assist. The bus was intercepted on the Prampram-Dawhenya Road.

ACP Odai said when the driver was questioned, he claimed that he had gone to the beach to load fresh fish for the market, but further search in the bus revealed only few boxes of fresh fish while further search revealed 67 large cartons of a well packaged substance suspected to be cocaine.

When one of the cartons was opened, 30 packets of a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine, with the picture of a white woman embossed on it, was found in it, together with two black dogs and a bag containing other items.

The commander said the driver was arrested and the vehicle towed to the Tema Regional Police Command for further investigations.

He said the police combed the area in order to arrest those behind the crime but their efforts yielded no result.

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Patrick Acheampong, said the police had had discussions with the British Serious Organised Crime Bureau on increased co-operation in the fight against international crime, particularly narcotics and advanced fee fraud, also known as '419'.

He said to ensure transparency, the laboratory facilities of the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), the French Narcotics Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the British Serious Organised Crime Bureau and the Police Forensic Laboratory would be used for tests on samples of the drug.