DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIT - (NARCOTICS UNIT)
The Narcotics Unit is a branch of the Criminal investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service. In view of that, personnel of the Narcotics unit are mainly mainstream detectives who receive further training in crime detection at the Detective training School of the Ghana Police Service. This equips them with extra skills to be able to handle all kinds of criminal cases, narcotic cases inclusive.
The current head of the Narcotics Unit is Supt./Mr. Cuthbert M. Aapengnuo. The head is assisted by two senior police officers who directly supervise the Station Officer who in turn surprises the other ranks. Some of the former heads of the unit were Supt. Robert Ayalingo, DSP/Mr. Thomas Obah, ACP/Mr. Adu Amankwah, DSP/Mr. Kofi Adzei-Tuadzrah, among others.
FUNCTIONS OF THE NARCOTICS UNIT
The traditional function of the unit is the handling of intra and international drug trafficking cases. The unit performs operational duties from time to time to fight illicit drug abuse and trafficking throughout Ghana. It also collaborates with stakeholders such as the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) of the United States of America, the Narcotics Control Board of Ghana and other security agencies in the country in the arrest, prosecution and even the extradition of fugitive drug traffickers. The Narcotics Unit, like other units of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service is an integral part of law enforcement in Ghana. Officers working at the Narcotics unit work in plain clothes and are specially trained to deal with drug-related crimes, organized crimes and money laundering. The unit also handles cases reported to it by the Food and drugs Authority. The Narcotics Unit also performs under-cover and sting operations as and when the information about drug syndicates are received. Destruction of many acres of cannabis farms country wide has also been among the functions of the unit.
In line with contemporary policing and best practices, many changes to the unit including change of name, logistics and capacity-building of personnel have been undertaken to enable it meet international standards. Courses have been organized for personnel in Ghana and abroad to equip them with the requisite skills in confronting the drug menace. The name was changed from Narcotics Unit to Drug Law Enforcement Unit on the assumption office by the former Inspector-General of Police Mr. P. K. Acheampong to meet the current trends and synchronize with the sophisticated nature of the trade. This was however reversed to the former name Narcotics Unit by the current administration.
For the period under consideration (January – June 2013), the review of cases are as follows:
a. Total Number of cases Reported - 65 (involving 77 suspects)
b. Total Number of cases Sent to Court - 55 (involving 64 suspects)
c. Total Number of Cases Under Investigation - 10 (involving 13 suspects)
d. Total Number of cases Convicted - 20 (involving 20 convicts)
e. Total Number of Cases Pending Trial - 33 (involving 44 suspects)
f. Types/Weight of narcotic drug
i. Cocaine - 13.2688 g
ii. Heroin - 3.0616 g
iii. Cannabis - 35,073.1536 g
Over the years, the Narcotics Unit has chalked many success as far as the arrest, prosecution of drug traffickers are concerned. Among the cases off interest are:
1. On 2nd September, 2011, the unit collaborated with the DEA of the United States embassy in Ghana and arrested Edward McCauley, Frank Ehiobu, Fred Oppong Brobbey and Matilda Antwi, all notorious drug dealers who where wanted in the united States of America for exporting and distributing many kilograms of cocaine and heroin into the U.S. They were put before the District Magistrate Court, Community Centre, Accra and at the close of proceedings, they were extradited to the U.S where they were given various jail sentences.
2. On 18th June, 2012 the unit again arrested one Mustaapha Issaka @ Zico, a fugitive drug trafficker who had exported and distributed several kilograms of cocaine and heroin in the United States of America. At the close of the extradition process at the District Magistrate Court, Accra, he was extradited to the United States of America where he is currently serving his jail term.
3. On 18th October,2012, the unit again arrested one Salifu Abdullah @ George Ebo-Amissah @ Wagba for the offences of exporting and distributing kilograms of heroin in the United States of America. He was found culpable by the District Court, Community Centre, and Accra and extradited to the U.S for trial.
PUBLIC EDUCATION / ADVICE:
Members of the general public are entreated to report criminals cultivating, possessing and using Narcotic drugs as well as the hideouts of dealers in narcotic drugs to the police.