Operation #Drugsmustfall

SHARE   |   Monday, 15 August 2016   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane
Drugs Drugs

Gaborone, Metsimotlhabe and Mochudi have proven to be leading illicit drug hotspots after narcotics detectives arrested 192 dealers in relation to 134 cases including suspected crack cocaine in May-July drug bust. Last week Deputy Officer Commanding Narcotics, Fauna and Flora Investigations Detective Superintendent, Albert Morapedi, said they are awaiting results from their Forensic laboratory on a suspected case of crack cocaine detected in Gaborone recently. He said, except for two, all the suspects in the other cases have already been arraigned before court and are out on bail. "Of the 192 arrested, 180 are Batswana, five (5) Swazis, four (4) Zimbabweans, two (2) Zambians and one South African. For marijuana weighing 1-102.1 kg we arrested 16 Batswana and five (5) Swaziland nationals. The dealers are aged between 18 and 52," he said.

The Patriot on Sunday is reliably informed that detectives are on a trail of a crack concaine dealer in Gaborone following a lead, but Morapedi declined to comment on the matter saying it is still fresh, and investigations are continuing. He expressed concern that drugs continue to find their way into the country, but said they are doing their best to detect them and arrest dealers by following up on tip-offs from members of the public. Morapedi said the trade in illicit drugs involves cartels, which are made up of a sophisticated matrix of sources who supply dealers who in turn sell to the final users. Although operations and raids by security agents often lead to the arrest of end users and dealers found in possession of small quantities of drugs they never reveal their sources. Morapedi said they have never arrested a prominent member of the public like politicians, executives or businessmen in a drug bust, but could not rule out the possibility of public figures being involved since drugs are expensive and someone with deep pockets has to finance the project/ dealership.

Morapedi singled out councillor for Bosele ward in Gaborone for commendation for demonstrating commitment to the fight against proliferation of drugs, and urged parents and teachers to emulate her example. The councillor recently helped state security agents to nab some suspected drug dealers. "Although we have managed to bring the situation of drugs in schools under control and significantly reducing the number of cases, some schools are still posing some challenges," he said.  To enhance compliance with the provisions of the Customs and Excise Duty Act BURS spokesperson Refilwe Moonwa said they are establishing an operational detector dog unit to provide a non-intrusive search and detection capability at Botswana’s ports of entry to assist in the prevention and detection of smuggling of contraband such as drugs. Contraband smuggled through or into Botswana include marijuana, mandrax, heroin, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and other narcotics), arms and ammunition, explosives, chemicals, CITES (endangered fauna and flora) or undeclared cargo, including currency.

A number of people have been intercepted attempting to smuggle drugs into Botswana and some have been prosecuted while others are under investigation. Cases of drugs intercepted at Botswana’s border posts:
• Three Tanzanian nationals, Thomas Masanja, Abubakar Haibatan and Isdory Mwakasinga were intercepted on 17th February 2016 and last appeared in court on 20th June 2016; Tanzanian national Mohummed Kalunzi was intercepted on 29th February 2016 and appeared in Court on 30th June 2016;
• Tanzanian national Johnson Jilemba was intercepted on 9th March 2016 and appeared in Court is on 30th June 2016;
• Tanzanian national Swaibu Wengi was found guilty by the Kasane Magistrate Court on 18th March 2016 and fined P10,000.00 or 2 years imprisonment in default of payment;
• Tanzanian national Ramadhani Magendo was found guilty by the Kasane Magistrate Court on 4th April 2016 and fined P15,000.00 or 2 years imprisonment in default of payment;
• On 17th May 2016, an Indian national was intercepted at Tlokweng Border Gate.

Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) a non-governmental organisation registered in November 2008 to provide substance abuse education, prevention, and rehabilitation services to the general public, has lined up activities for the month of August to commemorate the Substance Abuse Awareness Month (SAAM) under the theme: ‘Substance Abuse Free Botswana-Independence for all’, #DrugsMustFall.  "Substance abuse is a threat to the nation’s safety and peace as with it comes violence and crime. It is therefore imperative that we curb its growth and prevent young people from starting use. His theme was inspired by the fact that Botswana celebrates 50 years of independence this year and we want to leave behind substance abuse as we stride into the next 50 years," reads a statement from BOSASNet.

BOSASNet says it has never been more important to make a stand against substance abuse as Botswana is facing new substances that are cheaper and more addictive and therefore more attractive to the youth. The 2016 SAAM campaign has a number of activities; the Awareness Walk which took place on 1st August, 2016 to kick start the programme to fight against the substance abuse scourge; A Family Fun Day on 6th August 2016 to encourage youth to have fun filled activities without any use of habit forming substances.