Police Charge, Send to Court US$100 Million Cocaine Suspects

MONROVIA – The Liberia National Police has forwarded to court suspects involved in the US$100 Million cocaine saga, the largest drug-bust-up in Liberia. 

The suspects were charged with drugs trafficking, money laundering, criminal Conspiracy and criminal facilitation amongst others crimes. 

The defendants were charged and forwarded to the Monrovia City Court following the denial of a writ of habeas corpus filed to Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court A by lawyers representing the defendants the lawyers argued that the cocaine suspects were detained for more than 48 hours as enshrined in Article 21(f) of the constitution of Liberia without being charged and based on said provision, they should be released and placed under their supervision. 

In their petition filed to the court, defense lawyers prayed the court grant the writ of habeas corpus; thus, releasing their clients to them, until charges are made and they are forwarded to a court of competent jurisdiction. 

In their argument, prosecution lawyers headed by Deputy Minister of Justice and Solicitor General designate Cllr. Nyenti Tuan told the Court that the defendants were kept for more than 48 hours but said it was based on security reasons.

The Judge, however, in his ruling quoted Article 21 section g of the constitution which states ” the right to habeas corpus, being essential to the protection of human rights shall be guaranteed at all times and any person arrested or detained and not presented to court within the period specified may in consequence exercise this right”. 

According to judge Willie, though the law recognizes the importance of the Writ of habeas corpus, which he called the ” Great Writ,” there are exceptions though not stated, are implemented especially when the detention of an accused borders around National Security issues. 

The Judge, however quashed the request and urged the state to forward the accused to court at the same time requesting the petitioners to file a Bill of information before the court on or before Monday, November, 7, 2022.

Those involved include three foreign nationals; Makki Ahmed Issam, Adulai Djibril Djalo and a Liberian identified as Oliver Allen Zayzay.

The Crimes committed by the defendants contravenes Chapter 14, Sections 14.101, 107and 111; Chapter 10 Sections 10.2 and 10.4 respectively of the New Penal Code law of Liberia 

According to police charge sheet in the possession of KNEWS, defendant Malam, Conte a 31 year old Guinea Bissau national was arrested on October 1, 2022, when he  had gone to purchase the container bearing MNBU4070592 with five hundred and twenty kilograms ( 520kgs) of cocaine worth over $100 million, that was shipped to the Compound of SONIT Liberia  Corporation, located in Topoe Village, suburb of Monrovia. 

He had with him the amount of $200 thousand which was given to him by Co-defendant Djalo, inorder to purchase the container. 

During an in-depth investigation, after his arrest, defendant Conte told investigators that he and co- defendant Adulai Djibril Djalo, left Guinea Bissau and arrived in Monrovia on September 19, 2022, with the intention to collect the cocaine container from its arrival point.

On Thursday October 6, 2022, Makki Ahmed Issam, a Lebanese national residing on 21 street Sinkor, was arrested along with Codefendants Adulai D. Djalo and Oliver Allen Zayzay, who were turned over to the Police with help from the Sierra Leonean government, who initially arrested the suspects while they were fleeing the country.

It can be recalled that the Liberian authorities on October 1, 2022, confirmed that they had seized some $100 million worth of cocainewith help from the United States’ international narcotics agency.

During that time, the Justice Minister, Musa Dean informed reporters that the national Drug Enforcement Agency, with help from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, had made the seizure on October 1, 2022  at the SONIT Liberia Corporation  compound in Topoe village,  suburb of the capital,  Monrovia.

During that period, defendant Malam Conte was arrested while trying to retrieve the container from the entity and subsequent arrest was made by the LNP

The drugs were confiscated and burnt by the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency and other security  apparatus within the country with help from the US embassy. 

Meanwhile,  the defendants have been sent to the Monrovia Central Prison and they are awaiting to be tried in a court of competent jurisdiction. 

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