By Mustapha Jallow
Sixty-five (65) individuals who were arrested and handed over to Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG) by “Operation Zero Crime’’ Unit have been charged with drug related offences.
The offences ranged from possession of controlled drugs, possession of prohibited drugs, possession of prohibited drug for the purpose of drug trafficking, joint possession, frequenting among others.
The suspects were arrested by the Task-Force in early April 2021 and were later handed over to DLEA officials by the unit.
Giving a brief summary of cases handed over to their agency, Mr. Ousman Saidybah, the spokesperson for DLEAG on Wednesday told Foroyaa that DLEAG Banjul Divisional Command received 10 cases involving 16 suspects.
He said the suspects were handed over with 45 parcels of suspected cannabis, 66 wraps of suspected cannabis, 37 stones of suspected cannabis resin (hashish) and 16 tablets of ross.
In Kanifing, according to Saidybah, their Regional Command received 20 suspects, who were handed over to them with 12 parcels of suspected cannabis, 165 wraps of suspected cannabis, 10 stones of suspected hashish and 15 tablets of clonazepam.
He said their DLEAG West Coast Regional Command also received the rest of the suspects with three bundles of suspected cannabis, 59 parcels of suspected cannabis, 315 suspected cannabis and 24 stones of hashish. Similar cases relating to frequenting and obstructions were handed over to us, he said.
Total Quantities of Suspected drugs
Saidybah said: “Our agency received suspects with three (3) bundles of suspected cannabis, one hundred and sixteen (116) parcels of suspected cannabis, four hundred and forty-six (446) wraps of suspected cannabis, seventy-one (71) stones of hashish, thirty-one (31) tablets of controlled drugs and some smoking joints.”
“We commend members of the task force, armed and security services for their relentless efforts and commitment to keep us all safe and secure. However, we cannot do alone. We need to partake in this process by reporting suspicious criminal activities to law enforcement at the right time. Law enforcement cannot be everywhere and at every time,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Saidybah said the suspects were granted bail and are scheduled to appear before a court immediately when experts are done with their analysis. But names of the suspects could not be released in line with DLEAG privacy rules and investigations are still ongoing, he noted.
Nonetheless, the aforesaid Task Force (Operation Zero Crime) was recently instituted as part of efforts to ensure the country remains hostile to persons involved in illegal drug trafficking, possession, arming in public and other criminal activities.
The suspects can only be arrested, briefly detained and charged, but they cannot be detained beyond 72 hours without a court trial under section 19 of the 1997 Constitution of the country.
Personnel serving the Task Force comprise personnel of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), Armed Forces (GAF), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), Immigration Department, Prisons Service, Fire and Rescue Service.