Niger Police Seize Cocaine Worth Nearly $9 Million From Mayor’s Truck; Illegal Drug Believed to Come From South America

By Jess Smith First Posted: Jan 04, 2022 01:43 AM EST The Niger police have seized more than 440 pounds of cocaine worth around £8.7 million inside a government official's vehicle. According to Reuters, two police sources confirmed on Monday that the shipment was intercepted while being transported by a local mayor using his official truck.

Local Mayor in Niger Arrested After Cocaine Found Inside His Official Vehicle

Sources told CNN that the mayor and his driver were in the vehicle at the time of the interception Sunday.

They said both of them were arrested with 199 bricks of cocaine at a checkpoint on the road heading north out of Agadez's desert trading hub. In a statement, the Niger's Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (OCRTIS) confirmed that they recorded a seizure of more than 200 kilograms or 440 pounds of cocaine in the city of Agadez. However, the agency did not provide additional details about the drug's seizure.

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Cocaine Producers in South America Doubles Up Supply Due to Spike in Demand

West Africa is considered as a transit route for illegal drugs on the way from South America to the continent of Europe. The region has registered a series of record busts in recent years due to the spike in cocaine demand in the area. The country of Senegal seized more than two tons of pure cocaine in October 2021.

Senegalese government discovered the illegal drugs from a ship off its Atlantic coast. Also, Gambian authorities seized nearly three tons in January 2021 from a shipment that originated in the South American country of Ecuador. The navy said in a statement that the 2,026 kg of cocaine intercepted in Senegal was found on a ship 226 miles off the coast by naval forces backed by air support from the French air force.

The ship had five crew members aboard, authorities said. Morocco police also seized one tonne and 335 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a container ship in Tangier Med Port in October 2021. In May last year, Interpol said the police seized 973 cocaine bricks worth around 32 million euros from a fishing vessel and arrested 10 individuals in South Africa.

The police noted that the haul was considered one of South Africa's largest drug busts in history. Niger also seized 16.7 tons of cannabis resin worth around £37 million in May 2021. Interpol's drugs unit coordinator, Jan Drapal, told Reuters that drug kingpins were sending larger shipments in response to the increasing European and African demand.

Drapal noted that drug producers decided to bring larger shipments after they recently saw that it was not only in Africa that they could supply to but also in other countries where many record-breaking seizures were reported lately. He added that COVID-19 did not stop the drug shipments in the continent. Mexico Says Fentanyl, Meth Seizures Soar as Mexican Drug Cartels Import From China

This article is owned by Latin Post. Written by: Jess Smith WATCH: Cartels Are Trafficking Drugs Through West Africa | The War on Drugs - From Vice

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