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Cocaine Bust: Liberia Authorities Seize Parcels Worth $100m in Suburb of Monrovia

The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and National Security Agency (NSA) arrested a 31-year-old Guinea-Bissauan national identified as Malam Conte.

According to an LDEA release, the arrest was made on October 1, in plain view following well-verified intelligence from the U.S. government.

At about 1:00 p.m. Saturday, LDEA stormed the SONIT Liberia Inc. compound and seized from there a huge quantity of raw Cocaine concealed among frozen goods owned by SONIT Inc. The value of the confiscated drugs is about One Hundred Million United States Dollars (US$100,000,000).

That such a huge consignment of narcotics entered the country at any time might be indicative of how porous Liberia’s borders can be — either due to manpower to monitor all possible entry points, or deficit of due diligence on the part of border security personnel. However, according to the CIA World Factbook on Liberia (updated September 2022), the country is not a significant transit country for illicit narcotics, but proximity to major drug routes contributes to trafficking.

The Factbook also says that Liberia is not a significant producer of illicit narcotics. However, local drug use involves marijuana, heroin, cocaine, the synthetic opioid tramadol, and amphetamine-type stimulants. Yet, it is not lost on local authorities that a portion of the arrested consignment of contrabands may have been intended for local consumption.

SONIT Incorporated is a frozen food company located in Topoe Village along the Japanese Free Way. However, the company has distanced itself from the act and has since collaborated with the LDEA to ensure the arrest.  Following the arrest, suspect Conte admitted having a connection with the consignment and iterated that he arrived in the country about two weeks ago to await the consignment.

During a preliminary investigation, according to the LDEA, suspect Conte said he was asked by his international partners to follow the consignment and ensure it reaches the final destination. However, he did not say as to whether Liberia is the final destination.

It was also established that suspect Malam arrived in the country with two other accomplices who checked in at the Royal Grand Hotel, the LDEA release said. The suspects later moved over to the Boulevard Palace Hotel where the LDEA was able to pick up additional information leading towards their syndicate.

“Meanwhile, suspects Gustavo Henrique, a Brazilian and Adulai Djibril, a Portuguese who both accompanied Malam were not in their hotel room at the time of our arrival,” the LDEA said.

Suspect Malam is currently undergoing a full-scale investigation, while suspects Gustavo Henrique and Adulai Djibril remain at large.

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