More than two tons of cocaine with a street value estimated at D4.5Bn have been seized at the Gambia’s sea port in Banjul. This is the biggest ever cocaine seizure in the history of The Gambia.
Operatives of DLEAG on Thursday 7th January 2021 seized one hundred and eighteen (118) bags found to be containing cocaine. The bags are lebelled “SAL INDUSTRIAL”. The 118 bags weighed a gross weight of 2ton, 952kg, 850g, a statement from the public relations officer (PRO) of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency Gambia (DLEAG) Ousman Saidybah revealed.
The drugs were seized from container number SUDU7531754 which is part of a consignment of four containers originating from Ecuador. The containers are said to be containing 1000 bags of industrial salt each. Three of the containers (SUDU 753 1754, TLLU 2135 228 & TCLU 250 5880) originated from GUYAQUIL port (Ecuador) and transported by MAERSK LINE SHIPPING COMPANY.
“They were transshipped at the port of Algeciras in Spain before proceeding to Banjul, arriving on 01st January 2021.The forth container (TGCU 212 7190) also originated from GUYAQUIL port (Ecuador) transported by MSC. It was transshipped at Antwerp, Belgium, then Las Palmas, Spain and finally arrived at the Banjul ports on 27th December 2020. All the four containers were shipped by ECU WORLDWIDE ECUADOR SA and consigned to BOLLORE TRANSPORT and LOGISTICS as their local partner.”
However, an in-house Bill of Lading was issued by ECU WORLDWIDE to the actual consignee (CIRCUIT LONG TRADING CLT (Ltd) with Mr. Sheriff Njie as the contact person. On Monday 4th January 2020, physical search was conducted on container number TGCU 212 7190 but was found to be containing only salt. The search continued on Thursday, 7th January 2021 on the remaining three containers, resulting in the discovery of one hundred and eighteen (118) bags containing cocaine in container number SUDU7531754.
Initial findings suggest that the containers belong to one BANTA KEITA, holder of a French passport #17CE91360. According to the passport biodata, he was born on 3rd January 1984. He is a resident of Fajara M Section, Kanifing Municipality.
Mr. Sheriff Njie is currently in custody helping in the investigation while the hunt for MR BANTA KEITA continues. “We strongly advise the general public to vigilant and solicit their cooperation to provide information on whereabout of Mr BANTA KEITA to the nearest DLEAG/Police Station. The public is reminded that offering any type assistance to Mr Keita to escape or harboring him amount to a criminal offence as provided the Drug Control Act, 2003.This seizure is yet another confirmation that The Gambia like other West African States continue to be as storage and transit route for cocaine by international organized criminal groups. Certainly, these drugs are not destined for the Gambia, thus not for local consumption,” the statement concludes.