Authorities Burn Confiscated Marijuana Worth L$500,000 in River Cess

CESTOS, River Cess – The Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency unit in River Cess has finally burnt L$500,000 (US$3,246.75) worth of marijuana it confiscated three weeks ago.

The substance was seized on September 6 in the Kola Tree Community in Iti, Yarnee District.

LDEA’s chief of operations, Jurry Blamo, told The Bush Chicken that the owners of the drugs escaped before his men arrived on the scene and the marijuana was confiscated without a single arrest.

The substance had been initially scheduled for burning on September 9, but that did not happen until September 22.

Residents were concerned about the possibility of misconduct with the police’s handling of the drugs. The fact that the drug bust was made without any arrest had been viewed as suspicious.

The scene of the burnt marijuana. Photo: Eric Opa Doue.

When asked what led to the delay in the burning of the drugs, LDEA’s commander for River Cess, Col. Irene Sirleaf Jayee, said, “When DEA arrests drugs, the drugs are burnt [on] 26 June of every year during the [International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking].”

“The reason we burned this one sooner is that we do not have storage,” Jayee said. ”We wanted to carry it to Monrovia, but the county attorney said we should burn it here because River Cess is a county like Montserrado.”

Along with the drugs, a single barrel rifle and two motorcycles that were being used by the traffickers were also confiscated during the raid, but one of the bikes was turned over on September 25 to Jabateh Sekou, who claimed to be the owner.

According to Jayee, the county attorney, Cllr. Morris Y. Massaquoi, ordered that the bike be released to Sekou. He was required to sign a statement guaranteeing that he was the owner of the bike.

Jabateh Sekou takes delivery of the bike used by drugs traffickers. Photo: Eric Opa Doue

“I also do here commit myself to any further arrest should in case there will be any third party to make claim against the said bike,” the document signed by Sekou read. “I also promised to face any consequence arising therefrom.”

According to the commander, the single barrel gun was turned over to the Police Support Unit of the Liberia National Police immediately following the arrest.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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