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DEA collects samples of cocaine Guyanese shipped to Ghana; judge witnesses burning

The cocaine being burnt on the Accra Arts Centre beach .

(GHANA’S CITIFM ONLINE).-Officials of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), has in a joint collaboration exercise with its various responsible agencies, destroyed 413 slabs of cocaine which were brought into the country by four Guyanese and a Ghanaian with an estimated street value of $US60 million dollars.

The exercise was executed on the orders of trial judge, Justice C.J. Hoenyenugah, a Court of Appeal judge who sat as an additional High Court judge.

This became possible when the Chief State Attorney Alfred Asiamah Sampong, prayed the court to allow officials of NACOB to go ahead and destroy the 413 slabs of cocaine.

The narcotics were destroyed at the Accra Arts Centre beach and were done in the full glare of the trial judge and the court registrar, as well as personnel from the various stakeholder agencies.

The court, before pronouncing a 35-year jail sentence on the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, ordered NACOB officials to count the 414 slabs of cocaine in open court.

One slab, according to Justice Hoenyenugah, is to be kept in the custody of the registrar till the trial ends.

Three other accomplices are still standing trial.

The three had earlier pleaded guilty with explanation on December 13, 2013.

The court however rejected their explanation. They are billed to re-appear on Friday.

The court, before the destruction exercise, granted forensic Chemists from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States of America Department of Justice, the permission to collect a gram each of 30 randomly selected slabs from the courtroom for further investigations in the States.

This was to enable the DEA to trace the origin and purity of the drugs to enhance future investigations.

The court’s order was based upon a written request from NACOB and the US Embassy, with an explanation given by US officials, Laura Michelle Jones, a forensic Chemist from Virginia, as to why the samples were needed.

Michelle Jones also stated that they were invited by the US Embassy to check the purity of the cocaine to determine the origin of the substance.

The bust was made aboard the MV ATTIYAH vessel with registration number 000471.

The ship was intercepted in Ghana’s deep waters as it sailed from Guyana.

The operation led to the seizure of 21 sacks containing 414 slabs of cocaine.

The five suspects, together with the substances, were flown to Accra and handed over to the Narcotics Control Board for investigations.