General News of Wed, 7 Jan 200411
Biggest Cocaine Bust in Africa, happens at Tema
The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) on Wednesday busted Kevin Gorman, 59-year-old American citizen, with 674 kilos of narcotic drugs suspected to be cocaine at his Tema Community 11 residence.
The cocaine the largest consignment that NACOB has ever accosted since its establishment in Ghana and also believed to be the biggest in Africa is estimated to have a street value of 14 million dollars an equivalent of 126 billion cedis.
The cocaine packed in 22 cartons with a total of 594 tablets were concealed in a hole in the house and covered with a huge dressing mirror screwed to the wall as a camouflage to conceal the hole.
In the company of Gorman were six others, who have been charged for abetment of crime and would be put before court in due course after the Ghana Standards Board has confirmed the exact content of the drug. Meanwhile field test by NACOB has confirmed the drug to be cocaine. The six in the Company of Gorman include Alan Hodson, 45, David Logan, 43, and Frank Lavelrick 43, all British nationals. There were also 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German and two Ghanaians David Ahulu, 52 Managing Director, Tuna-To-Go Limited and Alfred Barnes, 70, a Director.
Col. Isaac K. Akuoku, Executive Secretary of NACOB, who led a team of media personnel to the house of the suspect, said his team of investigators had been trailing the culprits since the past two years.
"However, investigation was intensified within the last six months until the final confirmation made this morning, but was not disclosed to suspects, who were put under house arrest until the mirror was unscrewed in the presence of media personnel and the Police in the afternoon." He said investigators suspect that the total consignment was flown into the country and dropped on the high seas from where tuna trawlers conveyed them ashore.
Col. Akuoku expressed appreciation with the work done by the combined team of investigators from the Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Ghana Police Service and officers from NACOB.
"NACOB would not relent in its effort to free this country of narcotic drugs as well as break the network of drug barons, who try to use Ghana as a warehouse and a transit point for the shipment of narcotic drugs," he said.
Col Akuoku said the drugs if they had not been seized would have been shipped in containers containing liquid shea nut butter oil, which were ready for shipment.
He said Tuna-To-Go Limited, the company that Gorman was currently working with as a General Manager, shipped a similar cargo of shea nut butter oil in a 20-footer container in June 2003.
VERSION II: Britons held in ?80m cocaine raidFour British men have been arrested in Ghana after officials seized ?80 million worth of cocaine destined for the streets of the UK.
A UK-led international law operation resulted in the seizure of a tonne of the drug in a raid on a villa in the suburbs of Accra.
One German and two Ghanaians were also arrested following the raid, which was the culmination of a six-month intelligence operation led by UK Customs officers.
Customs minister John Healey said: "A sophisticated, international gang has been dismantled and a large shipment of cocaine has been prevented from causing harm on our streets."
A spokesman for Customs and Excise described the seizure as "huge", particularly given that intelligence had shown all of the cocaine was destined for the UK.
He added that it was one of the biggest seizures ever made by Customs officers.