KIA truck

The Kia truck. INSET: Some of the seized substances

The Custom officers at Asikuma Barrier in the Volta Region have intercepted 21 bags of suspected India hemp, weighing about 1.3 tonnes (1308 kg).

The consignment has been transferred to the custom warehouse in Ho, while that of the 16 sacks, which are yet to be taken to the warehouse, is estimated to weigh about 400kg.

The Indian hemp, popularly called ?wee?, was intercepted by the CEPS officers after the driver of the vehicle, carrying the drugs, bolted and abandoned the drugs and the truck.

Meanwhile, efforts to trace the vehicle owners, since the driver had escaped, was ongoing.

The Chief Revenue Officer of the Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority in the Volta Region, William Apeadu, expressed worry over the increasing spate of narcotics smuggling prior to the Christmas and New Year festivities.

He added that although it was expected, the rate was quite disturbing, since such illicit businesses dented the nation?s image, which also have other adverse effects on the country?s socio-economic development.

That notwithstanding, he assured the public that Customs and other security agencies alike were poised to ensure that the perpetrators were arrested and prosecuted.

He warned that ?Persons who are engaged in this illicit trade should know that their days are numbered, they should rather quit and do something better with their lives because we are coming after them.?

He also appealed to the public to volunteer information on individuals who were engaging in cultivation and smuggling of the illicit substances. Mr. Apeadu said these when he briefed pressmen over some illicit drug busts the division had made over the last four weeks.

He said officers of the Division have in the last four weeks intercepted over two tonnes (2000kg) of substances suspected to be India hemp at the Asikuma checkpoint in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region. The checkpoint, although in the Eastern Region, is under the command of the Volta Region Customs.

He said a Kia truck with registration GE 9311-10 loaded with about 200 bags of charcoal was intercepted on November 26, with parcels of compressed substances concealed in 21 bags and stashed among the bags of charcoal in the truck. The driver absconded on sensing danger.

Similar substances stuffed in school bags, cartons and ladies bags, among others, were also intercepted at various times in some passenger vehicles during inspections at the check point. Those ones, which amounted to 225 kg, had been burnt on the orders of the Headquarters of the Division, with clearance from the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB).

The substances are believed to have been coming from communities around the Volta Lake including Dzemeni in the South Dayi District, where charcoal are mostly produced and transported to Accra.

Samuel Ocloo, a custom officer in-charge of the Asikuma checkpoint, also appealed to the travelling public to co-operate with officers at various checkpoints during inspections of vehicles. He explained that seizing such substances was also within their mandate as they liaised with the police, immigration and other security agencies to ensure law and order.

From Fred Duodu, Asikuma


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