Namibia: Cops Unmask Erongo Drug Syndicate

Two foreign nationals are at the centre of a possible drug syndicate in the Erongo region.

A 22-year-old man claiming to be a Burundian national was arrested last Wednesday at a warehouse in an industrial area of Swakopmund on suspicion of selling powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, dagga and mandrax tablets valued at N$340 550.

On the same day, the Erongo police also apprehended a 27-year-old man at Mondesa, who claimed to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in connection with the possession of 220 g of dagga valued at N$11 000.

Deputy commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, the crime investigations coordinator for the Erongo region, confirmed both arrests.

“Neither were in possession of identification documents, and the verification process of their refugee status is ongoing,” Iikuyu said.

A source close to the case says the two men are connected with a 30-year-old Namibian man who was arrested at a house at Tamariskia, for dealing with five medium and seven large parcels of dagga with a street value of N$425 000.

The source said the two also have ties with a 31-year-old woman who was arrested on 11 February at Narraville Service Station, at Walvis Bay, for allegedly selling dagga with a street value of N$16 250.

“What is strange is that the two men, who claim to be from Osire, did not provide the police with the addresses of the people they were visiting, but told the police they were renting. The warehouse is also rented,” the source said.

BIG CONCERN

Since the beginning of February, the Erongo police have apprehended 29 people for either dealing or being in possession of dagga, mandrax and cocaine with a street value of over N$1 million.

The dagga and other illicit drug trade has become complex, Erongo regional community affairs commander inspector Ileni Shapumbu says.

“We can see there is a group of mostly young people who are used in the sale and movement of these drugs from one point to another. Our concern is that we have people recruited into drug dealings in this fashion, and we are going to arrest them,” he says.

He urges parents to look for changes in their children’s behaviour and to seek police or social service intervention should they detect something unusual.

“Take responsibility at home. We should not beg children, we must discipline them. The only effective policing is at home where charity should begin,” Shapumba says.

“We will go to schools to sensitise the pupils, but those who are committing the crimes are on the streets,” he says.

DAGGA TRADE GROWING

The use and cultivation of dagga is prohibited in Namibia under Act. 41 of 1971.

South Africa has legalised the cultivation and possession of the plant at home in 2018.

This has killed the growers’ market in the neighbouring country, which, according to Shapumba, could explain the increase in substance-related offences in the region.

“The cases are really of concern as they are many. We are not saying this is something that has happened recently; it may have been happening. The police have just improved our response and strategy,” he says.

The majority of the substance was found at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, but Shapumba says the police have also found the plant at Otjimbingwe, Henties Bay, Omaruru and Usakos.

A dagga plantation was raided at Omaruru, where the police found 22 plants (14 945 g) with a street value of N$ 149 450.

Two male suspects of 45 and 65 years old were recently arrested in this regard.

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