Ghana still major transit point for illegal drugs – Report

Ghana continues to be a transit point for illegal drugs, particularly South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin bound for European and North American markets, a new report from the US Department of State has said.

The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report noted that Marijuana is the main illicit drug used within Ghana and is trafficked within and from the country with increasing regularity, primarily to Spain.

The report cited an incident which occurred on August 22, 2016, where more than two metric tons of cannabis were seized by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority at Kpedze, near Ho in the Volta Region.

Although, there are no current statistics on cannabis cultivation within Ghana, some local law enforcement officials believe that cultivation increased in 2016, it said.

Additionally, precursor chemicals obtained primarily from sources in Asia continue to be smuggled through Ghana’s porous ports of entry for suspected use in clandestine labs to produce methamphetamine and psychotropic substances.

According to Ghana’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the volume of drugs (cocaine, cannabis, heroin, and methamphetamine) seized within the first six months of 2016 declined markedly from the same period in 2015, it said.

NACOB reported that drug couriers are increasingly moving drugs from West Africa to the Gulf Region for further transshipment to Europe, it adds.

Ghana, the report pointed out, maintained a high degree of cooperation with the United States on counter-narcotics Issues in 2016.

The United States and Ghana, it added, continued successful law enforcement cooperation under the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Sensitive Investigative Unit programme, which uses special vetted personnel to pursue high-value cases.

Supported by $1 million in US funding, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also launched a new programme in 2016 to provide basic equipment and training needed to establish police drug law enforcement units in four of Ghana’s regions where these units do not currently exist, it said.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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