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Govt officials protecting drug smugglers - police report

Narcotic drugs being destroyed in Nsambya

Narcotic drugs being destroyed in Nsambya

The Aviation Police (AVPOL) in collaboration with other security forces have impounded drugs worth Shs 2.9 billion since the beginning of the year. 

The most confiscated drugs are cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. In the last 10 months, AVPOL working with the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), Crime Intelligence (CI), Internal Security Organization (ISO), and Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC), has seized 56.6kg of narcotic drugs either being sneaked in or out of the country via Entebbe Airport.

Juliet Baguma, the officer in charge of AVPOL said that 42.7kg of heroin were seized alongside 6.6kg of cocaine and 7.2kg of methamphetamine. A kilogram of heroin on the black market costs between $10,000 and $15,000, cocaine goes for $15,000 to $20,000 while methamphetamine costs $20,000 and above.

However, the prices of narcotic drugs also depend on the scarcity. If there are stringent operations against narcotic drugs in the US and Europe, the smugglers become few and the prices skyrocket. Italy police last month arrested 58 suspected drug traffickers in an operation that stretched into Spain.

The group had drugs valued at €44.2 million. The Italy operation came on the heels of an operation conducted by EUROPOL leading to the arrest of 16 suspected drug smugglers. Baguma said most of the intercepted drug traffickers are Ugandans followed by Nigerians, Indians, Cameroonians, Senegalese, and Tanzanians.
“All the intercepted Ugandans were trafficking the drugs to different countries like Brazil, India, Australia, Qatar, Riyadhi in Saudi Arabia, Sharjah in India, to mention but a few,” Baguma said.

In 2020 and 2021, drug traffickers arrested at the airport had spent days in many of the luxurious hotels in Kampala and they claimed that they were taking consignments of bigwigs in government and security agencies although they did not mention them. One of the challenges AVPOL and CID have been facing is securing a conviction of foreigners who are in most cases rescued by powerful government individuals and swiftly deported.

Baguma said drug traffickers are very skilled and this beats their capability to curtail their activities.
“Inadequate training in the investigations of narcotic drugs and limited exposure to the diverse skills and tools of enforcement. We have a problem of limited financial facilitation required for our investigations towards the fight since our operations are intelligence-led,” Baguma said.

Another reason Baguma cited in a report as to why drug smugglers beat their intelligence is the lack of body scanners to help them expedite the identification of suspects who swallow the drug pellets.
“There is a need to widen our intelligence with international contacts for effective operations. The current National Drug Policy and Authority is too weak to handle drug criminals thus making our airport a transit route,” Baguma said.

Unlike the US which has over the year extradited drug traffickers from various parts of the world, most African countries including Uganda usually fail to follow up with the suspects once they have slipped through the airports.



+1 #1 Kidepwe 2023-11-13 11:59
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PROTECTING SMUGGLERS. The headline says it all about a dysfunctional government, headed by a clueless leader. We have heard it before, haven't we?

How many times has Museveni defended, nay, rewarded people who have actually stolen huge sums of money from the public coffers?

And hasn't the army or police here or elsewhere been cited in hiring out weapons to criminals? The nightmare that Uganda became post-1986 continues.
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+2 #2 Kalibbala 2023-11-13 22:33
Kale Kayihura himself a Drug addict let the Trafficking Flourish under his tenure as IGP so it is not a Surprise that his Network still Operates without Apprehension !

All this is the Kabano Program of Becoming Rich at All costs! Remember the South African Media Specialist who Died in One Hotel after Consuming a Dangerous Cocktail of These Drugs!? Uganda has Become Hell on Earth Only to Avoid !..
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