Officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of Ghana embarked on a significant diplomatic mission to bolster international cooperation in combating narcotics and substance abuse.

On Wednesday, June 12th, 2024, a delegation from the DEA Ghana, led by Mr. Michael Panizza and Kristen Hale from the US Embassy in Freetown, met with Sierra Leone’s Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. William Fayia Sellu, at his office on George Street.

The visit underscored the importance of sharing experiences and expertise in addressing the scourge of narcotics, particularly Kush, in Sierra Leone. Mr. Sellu warmly welcomed the delegation, expressing his commitment to collaborating effectively in the fight against drug abuse. He provided insights into Sierra Leone’s efforts, noting the destruction of local labs manufacturing Kush during police raids. The focus has now shifted to disrupting the supply chain and apprehending importers of precursor materials and other drugs.

President Julius Maada Bio’s declaration of Kush and substance abuse as a national health emergency prompted the formation of a national task force to coordinate the fight against drug-related activities. The IGP highlighted the role of the Sea Corporation Project (SeaCorp) at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay in intercepting precursor materials entering the country through ports.

Legal instruments such as The Pharmacy Act 2001 and National Drugs Control Act, 2008, empower law enforcement agencies to combat drug trafficking and abuse. Confiscation of properties of convicted individuals is part of the punitive measures outlined in the legislation.

The engagement facilitated discussions on enhancing forensic analysis capabilities and the effective utilization of community and stakeholder engagement in combating drug trafficking. The visiting team, including officials from the DEA Ghana and Narcotic Control Commission, Ghana, also visited the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) Headquarters to discuss operational strategies.

As part of the government’s efforts, rehabilitation centers have been established to assist individuals struggling with Kush addiction, emphasizing community collaboration with law enforcement agencies.

The question and answer session during the visit provided a platform to address key issues surrounding drug operations and management, reaffirming the commitment of both countries to combatting narcotics and substance abuse.

The collaborative efforts between the DEA Ghana and Sierra Leone Police signal a proactive approach towards tackling transnational drug-related crimes and fostering regional security.