DEC arrest 1,279 in the first quarter of 2019

By Staff Reporter

THE Drug Enforcement Commission arrested 1,279 in the first quarter of 2019 for various drug related offences countrywide, representing 7% reduction from 1, 376 arrests in the same period in 2018.

In a statement this morning DEC public relation officer Theresa Katongo said of the total arrests recorded for drug related offences 1, 206 comprised males and 73 females including 78 juveniles.

Katongo further said 171 convictions were secured with 112 cases disposed of through other legal provisions while 996 cases were still pending at various stages of the court processes by the end of the quarter under review.

She said the Commission seized cannabis plants, herb and seeds totalling 13.47 tons, compared to 24.76 tons recorded in the same period in 2018, thereby representing a reduction of 45.6% while other seizures included miraa (1.88 tons), ephedrine (7.29Kgs), heroin (7.7 Kgs) and cocaine (0.06 Kgs).

“Notable trends unearthed during the quarter included the increase in trafficking of dry miraa from Ethiopia through Zambia as a transit country to Europe, North America, South Africa, Namibia and Angola by identified cartels,” Katongo said.

And on Money laundering and Counterfeit Notes, Katongo said the Commission through the Anti-money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) received a total of 47 reports during the first quarter of 2019 while 35 people were arrested from14 cases involving a total of K13, 937, 421.61 and $199, 300 US dollars.

“The Commission further arrested eight people for being in possession of counterfeit notes amounting to K6, 600 and $100.

Meanwhile, 16 convictions were recorded in cases under the Anti-money Laundering Investigations Unit during the quarter under review.

According to Katongo, common trends observed included an increase in theft by public servant and fraudulent false accounting, money laundering while other typologies noted include increases in self and third party money laundering mostly involving the acquisition of real estate and motor vehicles in the names of the suspects and other persons,” she said

On drug demand reduction, Katongo said the Commission through the National Education Campaign Division (NECD) conducted a total of 685 awareness activities from which a total of 130, 051 people were sensitised through institutions of learning, community and workplace programmes as a strategy.

“Further, the Commission attended to 251 clients aged between 13 and 44 years under the counselling and reintegration programme, with the primary drugs of abuse being cannabis, alcohol, heroin and codeine,” stated Katongo.

And Katongo said the Commission had continued to monitor the trends of drug trafficking and money laundering with a view to curtailing the illicit vices as mandated in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act (Chapter 96) of the Laws of Zambia.

She added that the Commission had since scaled up efforts aimed at detecting illicit drug and money laundering activities through collaboration with other security wings and various stakeholders.

Katongo has also warned perpetrators of drug cultivation and trafficking to desist from the acts with the harvest season fast approaching as the Commission will be on hand to ensure all offenders are brought to book.

“The Commission would like to thank its cooperating partners, other law enforcement agencies, members of the public and the media for the support received during the period under review. We urge members of the public to continue supporting the Commission even in the rest of the year,” she said.