Police pounce on drug cartel in Pemba

Acting on a tip-off, SMZ police officers on August 20 busted a drug racket, nabbing a vessel christened ‘Siyasemi’ with registration number T0058, trafficking illicit drugs from Tanga port to Pemba Island.

“The police officers while on patrol in the Indian spotted the vessel and escorted it to Wete Port, upon searching it they discovered 560 pellets of what is believed to be heroin,” North Pemba Regional Police Commander, ACP Haji Khamis Haji told the ‘Daily News’ over the phone.

ACP Haji said three suspects were arrested and have been remanded as investigation is still going on. While he refused to unveil the identity of the suspects, Mr Haji revealed that they are looking for four more people in connection with the cartel.

He thanked the public for their continuous cooperation with the police in combatting drug activities around the region.

“This is big war that should be fought by every good citizen, not the police force alone, we can only win this war if everyone comes on board and collaborate with security organs,” the RPC said.

Mr Haji said the police succeeded to net the vessel and drug suspects after being tipped by good citizens prior to its departure from the Tanga port.

According to latest report on the status of drug abuse and trade in Zanzibar issued by the Anti-Narcotic Unit, a total of 250 drug cases were registered between January and May, this year, with only 19 cases filed into court. Only two suspects were convicted while investigation on 221 cases is still going on, eight suspects have been released by police.

The report highlights a range of obstacles hindering the war against drug trafficking and abuse, including poor working environment, lack of modern working instruments, incompetence, ineffective laws, porous borders, corruption and public irresponsiveness.

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