Three foreign nationals suspected of involvement in a cocaine trafficking ring in Liberia have been arrested along the border with Sierra Leone.
A statement from the Office of National Security (ONS), says a Guinean, Liberian, and Lebanese were believed to have been members of a drug cartel linked to 520 kilograms of cocaine that was recently seized by Liberia’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
The men were reportedly arrested by security officers at Zimmi in Pujehun district on the Sierra Leonean side of the border after they were alerted by their Liberian counterparts, about the imminent arrival of the suspected drug traffickers who were trying to evade arrest in Liberia. There is joint cooperation between Liberia and Sierra Leone and the arrests were reportedly well coordinated.
In the statement, the Security Sector through ONS assured the general public that ‘’efforts at curbing transnational organised crimes, including cooperation and collaboration, sit at the heart of the Security Sector’’. It said this is to “ensure there is no safe haven in Sierra Leone for drug traffickers and other criminals’’.
The security sector said all three suspects will be turned over to the Liberian authorities but Politico could not confirm up to press time whether they have been extradited.
There have been growing concerns in recent years that West Africa was fast becoming a transit point for the trafficking of cocaine from Latin America to other parts of the world.
In 2008 a light aircraft carrying 700 kilograms of cocaine valued at US$30 Million from South America landed at Lungi International Airport. It led to the arrest of Sierra Leoneans and a South America, the latter eventually escorted out of Sierra Leone by officers of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, for subsequent trial in America.
The authorities in Nigeria just over two weeks ago, announced the largest drug seizure in the country’s history, after cocaine with a street value of US$278 Million was discovered at a warehouse in the commercial capital Lagos.