July 27, 2015, 8:48am
The Namibian drug law enforcement unit has confiscated drugs worth N$15 million over the past four years.
During the period of 2012 to June 2015, a total number of 3,125 Namibians were arrested on charges of being in possession of drugs, as well as a further 307 foreign nationals.
According to information from police sources, nearly 4 million kilogrammes of cannabis with a street value of N$11.6 million was seized. The police also seized N$1.8 million worth of cocaine, N$577,745 worth of mandrax tablets and N$307,700 worth of crack cocaine over the same period.
Among the foreign nationals arrested on drug-related charges between 2013 and 2014 there were 57 Zambians, 27 Angolans and 19 Congolese, amongst many others.
Head of the Drug Law Enforcement Division Deputy Commissioner Hermie Van Zyl told New Era some foreigners use fake Namibian passports to transport drugs in and out of the country. In a recent case they arrested an Angolan citizen with a fake Namibian passport, he said.
Van Zyl said the most popular drug on the market is cannabis, because it’s cheap. “Everyone starts with cannabis, get addicted and move on to other drugs,” he alleged.
He also indicated that the largest market for drugs is in Windhoek, followed by Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and there is a growing drug market, as the number of users in Namibia is growing larger.
Van Zyl said some drug-users mix cannabis with Mandrax, which is dangerous. “It’s like giving yourself a heart attack. Some people s*** in their pants when using it. It’s an ugly drug, but people still use it,” he said.
Police officers speak to people they arrest to find out why they use a particular drug and often get valuable information, Van Zyl said, adding that they also get drug users who come to their offices seeking police assistance.
“They come and tell us they want to stop using drugs and want us to arrest the dealers. At times, it is because they owe the dealers money,” van Zyl said, noting that they have seen cases of drug addicts who sold their personal belongings for drugs and want the police to intervene.
He said the police will act immediately to find a suspected drug dealer, but the aim is generally not to recover the drug users’ property, rather it is to apprehend the dealer.
Van Zyl further said they have problems with foreign drug traffickers and refugees who are used as drug mules: “We don’t manufacture drugs here. All drugs come through our borders.
“There are syndicates organising this drug trade, for example cocaine from Brazil passes through Angola and then comes here through our northern border,” he explained.
He said some drugs are adulterated (mixed with other impurities) so that when they reach the street the purity is diminished by over 50 percent by greedy drug lords who want to maximise their illicit profits, despite the risks to users.
Van Zyl urged members of the public to continue to inform the police about the activities of drug dealers in their surroundings.