Three More Arrested in US$100 Million Drug Trafficking Case

MONROVIA –The joint security investigating the landmark US$100 million drug trafficking case has arrested additional three persons at the Liberia – Sierra Leone border.

Those arrested include a Liberian, Oliver Zayzay, a Guinean, Mustapha Baldeh and a Lebanese, Ahmad Makki.

The three had been on the run since the operation that busted the huge consignment of the narcotic that was shipped among frozen foods to Liberia.

According to investigators, Makki was part of the cartel tasked with negotiating with local businesses to buy their container once the frozen goods arrive at the port in Monrovia.

Zayzay booked three rooms at the Royal Grand Hotel for what is now believed to be three of the ringleaders behind the shipment. His Facebook profile lists him as CEO of Sky River Security and VIP Protection Services and Oliver Car Rental Service. He reportedly doubles as a customs broker, according to the investigative report.

The suspected ringleaders, Gustavo Henrique, a Brazilian, and Adulai Djibril, a Portuguese later checked in at Boulevard Palace. They were, however, not in their hotel rooms at the time agents of the National Security Agency and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency arrived.

Guinea Bissau national, Malam Conte, who had arrived in Liberia to ensure that the consignment reaches its final destination was arrested by agents in plain view. The Brazilian suspect is believed to have fled to the Ivory Coast.

The Director General of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) Marcus Zehyou has vowed that his entity is ready to make Liberia a drug-free country.

Zehyou made the statement when LDEA burned the confiscated cocaine captured in the biggest drug bust in the history of the country at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has cautioned the public including media institutions against spreading rumors and false accusations against innocent people.

The release signed by Mrs. Maude Somah, Director of Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry of Justice stated that drug trafficking is a very serious transnational crime that cannot and should not be attributed to anyone without sufficient basis, especially by private persons.

“Avoid false accusations, and unnecessary speculations regarding persons responsible for or involved in the circumstances of the shipment to Liberia of over 500 kilograms of cocaine worth at least US$100 Million, which was recently seized and burnt,” the release from the Ministry of Justice quoted.

According to the release, the Ministry agreed with the United States Embassy through its press release of October 3, 2022, adding that the seizure of the 100 Million worth of cocaine in Monrovia was the result of a well-planned operation involving law enforcement agencies of many countries including the United States.

The release emphasized that the ongoing collaboration of these countries should serve as a further assurance of the depth, integrity, and proprietorial objective of the operation.

Besides the traffickers already arrested, the Ministry added that all those established by available evidence to be involved in the trafficking, in the instant case, are being pursued both in Liberia and abroad.

“No person involved or reasonably suspected of involvement will be spared arrest, investigation or prosecution by the Liberian Government, working in partnership with the US Government and other collaborating governments,” the release noted. 

The release mentioned that details of the operation and ongoing investigation cannot be shared with the public, and members of the public are cautioned not to second-guess those details or speculate about the complicity of persons that the Ministry has not accused.

“While the Ministry, as usual, solicits the support of everyone with useful information about a criminal case, the Ministry maintains its position against false accusations, especially in cases involving huge sums of money, which possibility of violence not only against investigators, but potential witnesses and persons believed to be whistleblowers,” the release says.

“Finally, the MOJ wishes to clarify that based on all evidence adduced to date by the Liberian Government and the law enforcement agencies of other governments, no local company trading as an importer or retailer has been found complicit or involved in any way with the US$100m cocaine case, although the investigation continues,” the release quoted.

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