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Two suspects in custody on cocaine smuggling charges

The deputy spokesperson of Gambia’s anti-narcotic agency, Yassin Ndimballan
The deputy spokesperson of Gambia’s anti-narcotic agency, Yassin Ndimballan

Two suspects, a Gambian and a Lebanese national are in the custody of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG) on charges of cocaine smuggling.

Mahdi Tajudinn, a Gambian and Ossama Mahmoud, a Lebanesse, were arrested on Saturday, according to the deputy spokesperson of Gambia’s anti-narcotic agency, Yassin Ndimballan.

The two are charged in connection to 48 blocks of cocaine found in a shipment container addressed to Laura Food Company (LFC), a Gambia-registered company that deals in various types of food commodities.

The company started operations in Gambia in 2016. According to the DLEAG, Laura Food Company has two shareholders with Ossama Mahmoud owning 45% and Hussain Seaff owning 55%.

The drug was discovered in a 20ft container of sugar bought from Laura Food Company by a Mauritanian businessman Sidi Ahmed.

The container was part of a sugar shipment ordered from a UK-based Toyota Tsusho Sugar Trading Ltd by LFC.

After discovering 26 cocaine blocks in two loose sugar bags, the Mauritanian businessman contacted Mahdi Tajudinn, the sales manager at the LFC.

The anti-narcotic agents were later informed of the discovery. Further search brings their total discovery to 48 blocks of cocaine.

“The blocks were analysed and proved cocaine positive,” said Ndimballan at a press conference on Thursday.

Ndimballan said they are yet to charge the suspects as they are on further investigations. The anti-narcotic agents are also yet to establish the street value of the cocaine.

“There are still containers belonging to the same importers that are on the way,” said Ndimballan.

Meanwhile, according to official statistics, DLEAG has seized a total of over 779 grams of cocaine this year, over 4 grams of heroin and 124 tonnes of cannabis.

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