Drug law enforcement agencies in Ghana have teamed up with Nigeria’s Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to fight drug trafficking in an exercise codenamed ‘Operation Eagle’.
It has resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects and seizure of large amount of illegal drugs – 15.7 kilogram (kg) of cocaine, 9.21kg of heroin, 8.17kg of methamphetamines, 596.338kg of cannabis, 4kg of khat, 267 tramadol pills (225 milligram) and $22,000 cash.
This was contained in a joint statement by the two countries, the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The statement said to tackle illegal drug trafficking activities of organised crime groups operating in Nigeria and Ghana, a simultaneous intelligence-led counter-narcotics operations targeting the movement of drugs were undertaken in both countries.
It added that this was supported by UNODC-led projects – ‘CRIMJUST’ and ‘Response to Drugs and Organized Crime in Nigeria’, both funded by the European Union (EU).
The statement said the operation was carried out over the past two months. This generated knowledge and intelligence related to other forms of organised crime – “the identification of 20 potential victims of human trafficking; circulation of travel documents for potential use in illicit activities; movement of high-value assets linked to money laundering, tax evasion modalities; new methods of drug concealment and suspected cyber-related offences”.
“Following detailed analysis and planning, law enforcement actions against drug trafficking and related organised crimes were intensified at key cross-border points of both countries, comprising land borders and airports, including postal and courier services.”
The statement said lessons learnt from the pilot joint-operation had reinforced the need to align actions and to share intelligence to tackle the clandestine operations of organised criminal groups. ‘CRIMJUST’ Project is funded by European Union Cocaine Route Programme, UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and Transparency International) with the aim to assist member states to enhance their capacity.
It also seeks to build the integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster co-operation at the inter-regional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organised crime.