Liberia: U.S.$100 Million Cocaine Bust Defendants Indicted

…. The indictment of the men by the Grand Jury of Montserrado also noted that the act of the defendants is contrary to Section 15.2 of the Money Laundering Act.

The four defendants and others to be identified, who are linked to the recent US$100 million cocaine bust, have been indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County on charges including money laundering, as well as unlicensed possession and importation of controlled drugs, and criminal conspiracy.

Defendants Malam Conte, Adulai Djibri Djalo, Makki Admeh Issam and Oliver A. Zayzay and others to be identified were indicted on the four counts by the Grand Jury.

The four counts in the indictment noted that Conte, Djalo and Issam, Zayzay, and others to be identified, conspired, colluded, and facilitated to commit the crime of Money Laundering, which is a felony of the first degree, and the unlicensed importation of controlled drug or substance.

The others are unlicensed possession of controlled drugs or substances which are also felonies of the first degree and criminal conspiracy, a felony of second Degree.

The indictment of the men by the Grand Jury of Montserrado also noted that the act of the defendants is contrary to Section 15.2 of the Money Laundering Act, 2.2(b) of the Penal Law of Liberia, and against the peace and dignity of Liberia.

Also, the indictment states that the acts of the Defendants are contrary to Section 14.102 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act 2014 and 2.2(b) of the Penal Law of Liberia as well as against the peace and dignity of Liberia.

In the same vein, the indictment noted that the defendant’s acts are contrary to Sections 107 and 111 of the Controlled Drugs and Substance Acts 2014 and 2.2(b)of the Penal Law of Liberia, and they also hindered 4LCLR Title 26, Section 10.4 (1)(2)(3)(4)(5) and 4LCLR, Title 26, Section 2.2(b) of the Penal Law of Liberia and against the peace and dignity of Liberia.

They are expected to appear before the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court “C” for Montserrado, in its November Term, to answer to charges brought against them.

The indictments stem from the US$100 million cocaine bust on Saturday, October 1, 2022, in which one Oliver Zayszay, a Liberian national, and some of his foreign associates were arrested after seeking to purchase what appeared to be a shipping container full of fresh frozen pig feet from a refrigerated storage facility in Monrovia.

The defendants had initially offered to pay the owners of the container, AJA Group Holdings, the sum of US$200,000 for the entire container that cost less than US$30,000. But when the defendants, within less than eight hours, doubled their offer to US$400,000 and finally to US$1 million, AJA Group said they were certain that Zayzay and his associates were dealing with a serious case of narcotics trafficking.

The company said they contacted the United States Ambassador, a move that brought both the American and Liberian anti-narcotics law enforcement agents into the picture and caught the suspects red-handed.

The US$100 million cocaine bust is believed to be the biggest arrest in terms of street-value on the African continent so far.

Defendant Issam, a resident of Sinkor along with co-defendants Djalo and Zayzay, were turned over to the government on October 6, through Lorenzo Pehlam, Deputy Director for Operations, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) for allegedly trafficking drugs between the Liberian and Sierra Leonean borders as well as money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

The Government of Sierra Leone arrested and turned over to its Liberian counterpart the three men who were allegedly involved in the shipment of five hundred and twenty kilogram (520kg) of cocaine valued at one hundred million United States dollars (USD 100m).

The defendants on October 1, concealed 29 cartons of cocaine among cartons of pig feet labeled with Allegra foods, which was seized at the SONIT Liberia Incorporated compound, Topoe’s village, Japan Freeway, Montserrado County.

During the background investigation, police said it was also established that on October 1, a Lebanese man, Co-defendant Issam, was seen at the Fresh Frozen Food company located at Bong Mines Pier with Defendant Conte, negotiating for the purchase of the container marked MNBU4070592 on behalf of Malam Conte and Adulai Djibri Djalo.

Defendant Issam accordingly escaped upon the arrest of co-defendant Conte and subsequently fled to neighboring Sierra Leone along with Co-defendants Zayzay andDjalo.

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