Ghetto invaded by drug cartels

SHARE   |   Sunday, 25 January 2015   |   By Shingirai Madondo
Superintendent Maniki Superintendent Maniki

Francistown has become a drug haven, as illegal habit forming drugs are sold in broad daylight, it has been revealed.

Drug pushers are said to be selling the illicit drugs at the Francistown bus rank and along the busy streets of the country’s second largest city. The sale and use of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and others is prohibited in Botswana. The same applies for skin lightening lotions because of their side effects, according to dermatologists. 

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However, these drugs and skin lightening lotions are sold in broad daylight at the Francistown bus rank and along the streets of the country’s second largest city, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt.

Investigations carried by The Patriot on Sunday, revealed that those trading in cocaine and marijuana are as young as junior and senior secondary school students in Francistown.

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Combi and taxi drivers as well as touts, street kids and vagabonds roaming the streets of Francistown are said to be regular customers because of their close links to vendors, who are said to be drivers of this illicit syndicate.

During an investigation by this publication, it was also established that fashion-crazy and beauty conscious ladies of the working class are the main consumers of the skin lightening lotions as they strive to have a light skin tone.

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A plastic case of marijuana, popularly known as a sting in street lingo, which is roughly 10 or so grams, costs between P15 and P20 while cocaine fetches between P50 and P100 for the quantity similar to the case of cannabis, it has been established.

A tube of the skin lightening lotion costs P20. Some women would not mind forking out about P30 for a tube when the product is not abundantly on the market thanks to erratic deliveries, this publication has learnt.

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Authorities in Francistown are aware of the monkeyshines taking place at the city’s bus rank and along its streets. Lebuile Israel, the City of Francistown clerk confirmed the development and pointed an accusing finger at vendors for the proliferation of the illegal business.

“They (vendors) serve as catalysts. We have since realised that vendors are working in cohorts with drug cartels,” said a seemingly worried Israel when approached for a comment by The Patriot on Sunday late last week.

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According to Israel, some vendors pretend to be trading in sweets and other eligible products while they are covertly peddling drugs. He said some beauticians were recently caught with stakes of marijuana and investigations are ongoing.

As the council, Israel said they are doing everything within their power to ensure that the vending industry in Francistown is clean. He said the council is doing so by ensuring that there are constant random raids.

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“Those who are found to be perpetrating the peddling drugs will have their licences revoked and they will be prosecuted,” he said. Israel said the council cannot afford to be viewed by the other government departments as promoting drug peddling.

For his part, Superintendent Lebalang Maniki of Francistown Central Police Station said hard drugs like cocaine have found their way into Francistown. He said marijuana is in abundance as if there is a farm producing the habit firming drug locally.

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However, Maniki said the police will not rest on their laurels until drug peddling is completely eradicated in Francistown. But Maniki could not be drawn into discussing how the police will do that to avoid hinting the drug peddlers.  



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