Gambia issues international warrant for suspected cocaine trafficker


By Nelson Manneh

Following the seizure of large quantities of cocaine weighing almost three tons valued at more than four billion dalasis at the Banjul seaport on Thursday, 7th January 2021, the Gambia Government on Tuesday, 12th January 2021, issued an international bench warrant for the main suspect, Mr. Banta Keita, 36.

“On the request of The Gambia Government, an Interpol ‘Red Notice’ was issued on 14th January 2021 for the worldwide arrest of Mr. Keita, born 2nd January 1984 in Passamas, Upper River Region in The Gambia. Keita also holds French nationality,” the press release stated.

The press release indicated that Mr. Keita and his suspected local accomplice, Mr. Sheriff Njie, born on 6th April 1977, was charged by the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on three counts of Aggravated Drug Trafficking, Dealing in Prohibited Drugs and Conspiracy.

While Mr. Keita remains at large, Mr. Njie is remanded at the Mile II Central Prisons in Banjul.

“During Monday’s National Security Council (NSC) briefing, His Excellency, President Adama Barrow directed The Gambia’s Security Chiefs to immediately constitute a ‘Multi-Agency Taskforce’ that shall conduct a robust, thorough and impartial investigation into the case and ensure that all legal means are utilized in bringing the culprits to justice. President Barrow unequivocally condemned drug abuse and trafficking, and declared zero tolerance for traffickers,” it stated.

The press release indicated that President Barrow reiterated his government’s continuous commitment and unflinching support to the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEA) as well as his resolve to fight the drug menace.

It said as a signatory to all major United Nations Drug Conventions and the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Gambia Government will strengthen the DLEAG in its crusade against drug traffickers.

“The public is hereby warned that Mr. Banta Keita is currently a fugitive from justice and any person caught aiding, colluding with or harbouring him, will be dealt with according to law. Citizens and residents are urged to comply with this notice and report any developments related to Mr. Banta Keita’s situation to the nearest law enforcement agencies or local authorities,” the dispatch stated.