General News Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Ghanaian held over cocaine in UK

CUSTOMS officials in the United Kingdom have intercepted 30 kilogrammes of cocaine which was being sent to that country by a London-based Ghanaian businessman.

The Ghanaian suspect (name withheld) is currently in custody in London awaiting trial.

The cocaine was neatly concealed in a suitcase.

The suspect has since refused to talk to investigators, apart from saying that the “goods” belong to someone whose name he only gave as Alhaji and another as Auntie Esi, who he claimed was also on board the flight.

A source at the Narcotics Control Board, which disclosed this in an interview, said local security personnel have also begun investigations into the matter to apprehend his accomplices.

It said the investigations will also find out how the cocaine left the ports of the country without detection.

According to the source, the suitcase in which the narcotic drug was found contained nothing else and this baffles the intelligence network because it wonders how the suitcase left the airport undetected.

It said the investigations will also help establish security personnel who were on duty at the time the cocaine and the passenger left the country.

Investigations so far carried out have revealed that the suspect lied to the security agencies in London when he claimed that he hails from Axim in the Western Region.

In a related development, a travel agent and an official of the British Airways are helping the security agencies in their investigations into the attempt by the two to export 49 kilogrammes of Indian hemp.

They were arrested at the AFGO Cargo Village when they attempted to check in 20 kilogrammes of the drug but the X-ray machine exposed them.

The source said upon their arrest, the two claimed that the cargo belonged to a passenger who had checked in one similar baggage at the Departure Hall.

It said the two claimed that the cargo was far in excess of the required tonnage by the airline and it was advised that they send the other baggage to the AFGO Village to check it in as an unaccompanied cargo.

The source said the passenger is alleged to have asked the airline official and the travel agent to do that on his behalf which they readily tried to do.

According to the source, when CEPS officials detected that the baggage contained something unusual, they insisted on opening it but the suspects objected to it, insisting that the passenger would have to be present.

It said after a heated debate, the baggage was opened and it was found to contain 20 kilogrammes of Indian hemp.

The source said when CEPS officials moved to the main airport, the passenger had escaped and left the baggage which was retrieved and found to contain 29 kilogrammes of Indian hemp.

The airline official and travel agent are on bail while a search for the passenger has been intensified.
Source: Graphic