$120m worth of cocaine set for U.S seized in Liberia; son of Liberia’s President help in investigations.
Special to USAfricaonline.com
Drug enforcement officials have seized four tonnes of Colombian cocaine with a street value of $US100 million ($120 million) in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
Seven people caught with the narcotics, which were destined for the United States, were arrested during the drugs bust last week and have been deported to the US to face trial, Liberia’s defence minister Brownie Samukai said.
Brooks Robinson, from the US embassy in Monrovia, said the suspects were trying to establish cocaine smuggling routes from South America through the war-torn west African nation to the US.
They attempted to exploit connections with supposedly corrupt government officials who “were in fact working in an undercover capacity, in close cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Agency,” he said.
In recent years, international narcotics traffickers have transported huge quantities of cocaine, worth billions of dollars, through several West African countries which have emerged as a key transiting point.
They have often sought to bribe high-level public officials with large cash payments and narcotics in order to ensure the safe passage and distribution of their cocaine shipments.
The son of Liberia’s president worked undercover with U.S. drug agents investigating a conspiracy to distribute more than $100 million in South American cocaine in Europe and Africa, authorities announced Tuesday.
Fumbah Sirleaf, the director of the Republic of Liberia National Security Agency, was among three top Liberian officials who worked secretly to help the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration capture eight defendants in a multi-ton drug conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Bharara praised Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for standing up to drug dealers who sought to bribe high-level officials in her government to protect shipments of vast quantities of cocaine to Africa and Europe.
“Indeed, President Sirleaf put her own flesh and blood in the fight and in the line of fire,” Bharara told a news conference. “What greater resolve could a leader demonstrate?” USAfricaonline.com wt AFP n wire reports