MONROVIA – The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) detachment in Fish Town, River Gee County has arrested a 17-year-old boy with multiple illegal drugs.
The suspect identified as Mark Younge was arrested in a “plane view” following a surveillance operation in Fish Town City.
The disclosure was made by the Director of Communications at the LDEA Michael Jipply in a chat with FrontPageAfrica on Wednesday, September 21.
According to him, the suspect was arrested with 24 wraps of Kush, 31 wraps of Heroine and 34 wraps of high-grade Sensee Marijuana totaling the street value of LRD $ 20,972.00.
He disclosed that following the arrest of suspect Younge and preliminary interrogation conducted, intelligence gathered has linked the source of his drug trade to a close family member.
Jipply, however, fell short to disclose the name of a particular family member of the suspect that has been linked but pointed out that, the “investigation is working closely to establish” the link.
Meanwhile, suspect Younge is currently undergoing investigation at the LDEA Fish Town office for onward transmission to Monrovia.
Drugs trafficking crossing boundaries
Jipply disclosed that the latest arrest of a minor involved into the alleged commission of the act shows that the “mode of drug trafficking has crossed every boundaries of our society.”
He observed that with the move clearly entails the trafficking and abuse of drugs and substances have taken a new dimension in the post-conflict nation.
He stressed that more needs to be done if Liberia is to alleviate the scourge of drug abuse on our society.
Unending fight against drugs
The combat against the smuggling, trading and intake of illicit drugs and substances in post-conflict Liberia remains an aged-old problem.
The influx of dangerous substances including cocaine, marijuana and others continue to increase on a regular basis.
Weak drugs laws, which make the crime a bailable offense, the reported involvement of scores of higher-ups in government and the porosity of Liberia’s border points remain other contributing factors
The situation has negatively contributed to the proliferation of ghettoes, increase in crimes in the communities and streets, and the growing wave of disadvantaged youths, who are normally referred to as “zogos” in Liberia.
Most of these disadvantaged youths engaged into unwholesome practices by hijacking or robbing peaceful citizens of their precious belongings or properties, stealing or other violent acts in a bid to accumulate money to promote their bad habits bby purchasing illegal drugs and substances in the ghettoes and other areas.
Fear continues to grip citizens and foreign residents, especially during the late evening and night hours as a result of the increase in the number of these disadvantaged or wayward youths in Liberia.
Though efforts are being applied by the government, through the LDEA to fight against drug trafficking and trading in the country, the situation continues to persist in various counties across the country.
The lack of adequate budgetary support to the LDEA, and the delay by the Liberian Senate to pass the new drug law which is currently before that August Body, are serving as reasons for the trafficking and uncontrollable intake of illicit drugs in Liberia.
In November 2021, the Plenary of the House of Representatives passed and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for onward deliberations and concurrence an “AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 14 OF THE NEW PENAL LAW OF LIBERIA UNDER THE TITLE “OFFENSE INVOLVING DANGER TO THE PERSON “BY ADDING THERETO SUB-CHAPTER (E) UNDER THE TITLE “CONTROLLED DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ACT OF 2014”.
The act, which among other things seeks to make the trafficking of drugs a non-bailable offense, suffered multiple setbacks since it was introduced in the 54th National Legislature in 2019.
The bill when concurred with by the Liberian Senate will also provide additional harsh penalties for drug possession or use, supply, trafficking, production, an alternative to incarceration, harm reduction, public health and human rights, confiscation of properties, among others, and will also reduce the number of disadvantage youths in the streets.
The current drug law of Liberia sets aside one to ten years imprisonment as punishment for offenders.
“There is a need for a speedy passage of the proposed drug law before the Senate, adequate budgetary support, logistics, and additional men power” Michael Jipply stated.
He stressed that focus should also be placed on “rehabilitation and reintegration of those drug dependent persons who are significant to the approach if we must progress in the fight against drug abuse.”
Jipply maintained that the lack of adequate budgetary, logistical and insufficient manpower continue to undermine the “effectiveness and gains that could’ve been possible in a definite period.”
He noted that the challenges appear like a “repeated circle”, strangulating the effective fight against drug trafficking and abuse in Liberia.
Drug and substance abuse have contributed and continues to contribute negatively to the growth of the younger generation. It continues to pose a threat to the peace and security of the country.
Stakeholders, including civil society actors, national and international partners, and the West Africa Drug Policy Network, among others have been calling for stringent measures against drugs and substance abuse and trafficking in the country.
If stringent measures are not taken promptly, the menace would escalate or take another dimension thereby, jeopardizing the future of Liberia’s future generation and leaders and making Liberia to be one of the most insecure countries to live or do business.