Gambia, Ecuador ‘dismantle’ drug trafficking network, arrest 8 suspects

Gambia, Ecuador ‘dismantle’ drug trafficking network, arrest 8 suspects

The Drug Law Enforcement Agency – The Gambia (DLEAG) in collaboration with the National Police of Ecuador have reportedly dismantled a drug trafficking network linked to the Banta Keita’s case and allegedly arrested eight suspects, The Point has been reliably informed.

“The National Police of Ecuador in coordination with the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG), coordinated actions in an operation called ‘Gran Fénix 18 BIANGA, in which 10 raids were carried out in the provinces of Guayas, Manabí and Los Ríos resulting in the arrest of seven Ecuadorian citizens and one Colombian citizen,” Lamin J. Gassama, the director of Investigation and International Cooperation of the DLEAG who was contacted for comments, said.

The suspects, Gassama added, were part of the criminal organisation dedicated to the shipment of illicit substances to the African continent and Europe.

It could be recalled that the DLEAG in January 2021 seized nearly three tonnes of cocaine from a shipment of industrial salt originating from Ecuador amounting to over $88 million.

It is reported to be the biggest ever cocaine seizure in the country by the narcotic agency. The 118 bags weighed a gross two tonnes, 952kg, and 850g.

This operation, the DLEAG director of investigation said, dismantled a “drug trafficking network involved in the organisation of close to 3 tons of cocaine seized in The Gambia in January 2021.”

“A joint investigation activated after the seizure achieved a historic result by establishing an evidence-linking group to the case in The Gambia.”

“Ecuador has become a key point for global drug trafficking in recent years, as mafias take advantage of its ports and coasts to send tons of alkaloid to Europe and North America, the main destinations.”

“This has also made Ecuador the third country in the world that seizes the most drugs, only behind Colombia and the United States, as it has annually exceeded 200 tons of narcotics seized in the last three years.”

At the end of the operation, a joint press conference was addressed by the Director of Intelligence and international Cooperation of DLEAG, Lamin J Gassama and General Vollarroel, Director Antodrugs of Ecuador.

“Director Gassama explained to the Ecuadorian press the details of how the operation in The Gambia resulted in the seizure of close to 3 tons of cocaine.”

He commended the Ecuadorean authorities for their cooperation in the investigation and congratulated them on the successful operation.

Gassama emphasised that international cooperation is only meant to counter transnational drug trafficking.

“The cooperation of law enforcement officers across borders increases our chances of breaking criminal networks – as we are witnessing in this case,” he added.

He thanked UNODC CRIMJUST project for facilitating the case focus between the two countries as a way of supporting this investigation.

Source: The Point

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