Cocaine vessel crew members plead guilty to narcotic charges
Five crew members, who were recently arrested on Ghana’s high seas with 414 slabs of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine, on Friday appeared before an Accra High Court.
They are Percival Junior Court, a Guyanese engineer, Miller Ronald O’Neil, the captain, Seth Grant, Samuel Monty and Singh Primchand, all seamen.
The five accused persons, facing charges of engaging in criminal conspiracy, importation of narcotics without lawful authority and possession of narcotic drugs, have pleaded guilty with explanation. They contended that they could not afford the services of lawyers.
The accused persons have been remanded into custody by Mr Justice C.J Hoenoeyega, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, to reappear on December 13.
On December 13, the accused persons are expected to deliver their explanation pending conviction by the court.
Prosecuting, Mr Asiamah Sampong, a Principal State Attorney, told the court that investigations were on going as the 414 slabs of cocaine had been forwarded to the Ghana Standards Authority for analytical examination.
The facts, as presented by Mr Sampong, are that during the third week of November, this year, the Narcotics Control Board received information concerning the suspicious movement of a submarine vessel by name Atiyah Ex-Alisam, with registration number 000471, which was heading towards Ghana loaded with illicit drugs.
According to the said information, the vessel was from British Guyana -George Town.
Prosecution said security agencies including the Ghana Navy, the Police, National Security and Ghana Marine were, therefore, alerted.
According to Mr Sampong on November 19, the security agencies, in collaboration with Western Naval Base in Takoradi, intercepted the vessel on Ghana’s waters.
A search on the vessel revealed 21 fertilizer sacks smeared with engine oil containing 414 slabs of compressed substances. A field test conducted indicated that the substances were cocaine.
Prosecution said O’Neil, the captain, said the drugs were to be delivered in Ghana but they could not mention the name of the recipient adding that he had the contact of the recipient.
According to O’Neil, the drugs were to be delivered on the high seas for a fee of $50,000 while the rest of the crew were to take various sums of monies.
Mr Sampong indicated that the exhibits had been forwarded to the Ghana Standard Authority for examination.