Mozambique targeted by drug traffickers

Source:Global Times Published: 2011-1-12 9:21:00

Mozambique is being targeted drug syndicates in the world for a route of international trafficking in Southern Africa.

For years, the former Portuguese colony has become increasingly famous for drug trafficking, although the precise nature of the Mozambican connection to the drug syndicates remains unclear.

Still, it is highly suggestive that a Mozambican businessman, who was once arrested in Portugal on drugs charges, Momed Khalid Ayoob, was detained on Dec. 1 in Swaziland as he attempted to smuggle 18 million rands (2.6 million U. S. dollars) to Dubai.

Another Mozambican, named Akel Mohammed, was arrested in Swaziland in January 2010, for exactly the same currency offence, which involved 4.5 million rands in banknotes. Once again, the destination was Dubai.

The huge drugs bust in South Africa in December, in which 316 kilo of cocaine and 100,000 pills of mandrax were seized, also led to arrests in Dubai, Holland and Britain, according to the media of the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Mozambique News Agency (AIM), Khamis Mattar Al Mazina, deputy commander-in-chief of the Dubai police, announced on Monday that four members of what he described as "an international gang of drug smugglers and money launderers" had been arrested in Dubai in cooperation with the British, Dutch and South African police.

He said the arrests were made on Dec. 10-12. Three of the suspects face charges in Dubai of trading in harmful substances and money laundering, while the fourth was extradited to an unnamed European country, where he is wanted for other crimes.

The Dubai arrests coincide with the crackdown in South Africa, where 312 kilo of cocaine (with an estimated street value of about 48 million U. S. dollars) were found hidden among bags of rice in a container unloaded at the port of Durban.

The container was on its way, by road, to Mozambique. The South African police put the drugs back in the container, and allowed it to continue to Isando, in Gauteng province, where it was offloaded.

It was then that the police swooped on six suspects, including three Mozambicans, named as Jose Rodrigues, Ben Nuvunga and Cassimo Haramate.

The others were British citizen Nitin Patel, South African Jabar Sheik, and a man of dual South African and Sri Lankan nationality, Peter Fernando.


According to Johan Meeding of the Organized Crime Unit in the South African police, the seizures were the culmination of an eight-month investigation that also involved the authorities in Dubai, Canada and the Netherlands.

The information the police received, said Meeding, "was that the syndicate was well organized and funded with links in the Netherlands, Canada and Mozambique with kingpins in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai."

Several foreigners living in South Africa were involved in "transshipment of narcotics from Mozambique to South Africa and vice versa, possibly to other countries as well," he said.

The Dubai police are convinced that they have those kingpins behind bars, but have not yet released their names.

According to AIM, Al Mazina described them as the "big boss who called himself SA, an Asian who has the nationality of a European country as well the nationality of South Africa, and two of his assistants of Asian nationality, named MA and KA."

There were also arrests in the Netherlands and Britain. On Dec. 10, the Dutch police arrested three suspects and seized 637 kilo of hashish, 524 kilo of marijuana, a firearm, and money equivalent to 408,000 dollars.

In Britain, two more suspects were arrested, and 490,000 dollars was seized.

Al Mazina revealed that the Dubai police had received information on this international crime ring over a year ago, and had held many meetings with the authorities from the other countries concerned

"We agreed on the plan to arrest this gang, and decided the date and time to complete this mission. We formed an international team to track the gang, and find out all the details about their activities and operations," he said.

"One of them was running a bogus company in Dubai to cover his illegal activity," said Al Mazina. "Investigations revealed he was responsible for the funding of the drugs."

"The gangsters possessed large quantities of drugs and money. They intended to smuggle the drugs from Suriname (a former Dutch colony in South America) to South Africa and then to Europe," he added.

Posted in: Africa

blog comments powered by Disqus