- Botswana used as drug transit country
- Drugs worth over P1m confiscated in 3 months
- Dagga alone worth more than P1m
- 381 cases detected
- 146 cases completed before courts
In just a period as short as three months, Marijuana, Khat, Cocaine and Meth-cathinone worth a total value of over P1 million were confiscated by Botswana Police Service (BPS).
This however, does not include other cases of drug dealing worth hundreds of millions which the police are yet to detect, which threaten to turn the country into a drug paradise.
It emerged that the police have detected approximately 381 cases of drug dealing, worth exactly P1 066 783 in a period between January and March 2018, parliament revealed yesterday.
According to the Minister of Defense Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi, Dagga, popularly known as Marijuana, led the pack, with 101 kilogramms detected during the three months under review. The detected Dagga according to Minister Kgathi was worth P1 010 510. However, it was not only dagga which was confiscated, Meth-cathinone, a hard lab manufactured drug as compared to Marijuana was also detected. Kgathi told parliament this week that 532 grams of Meth-cathinone worth P53 202 were detected during the three month period in question.
According to a research by the World Health Organization (WHO), Methcathinone is a stimulant drug closely related to two other dangerous substances: methamphetamine and cathinone. It is also called ephedrine and is found naturally in a plant called the “khat” plant. Short term effects of such a drug include psychosis, memory loss, weight loss, tooth decay, aggressiveness and thinking deficits.
Not least of all, the possible long-term effects of using methcathinone include the possibility of becoming addicted.
Further, Minister Kgathi revealed that the Police detected Cocaine weighing 17 grams to the value of P1 752, and another drug called Khat which was valued at P1 352 weighing 14 grams.
According to Minister Kgathi, between January and March 2018, a total of 146 cases were completed before the courts of law. He further said from the remaining cases detected, are at different stages of the prosecution process.
Kgathi was answering questions from Edwin Batshu, Nkange Member of Parliament (MP). Batshu wanted to know the number of drug related cases detected during the first three months of 2018, the type of drugs and the number of completed and pending cases. Further he also wanted to know if the rate at which drugs related cases are disposed of and what Kgathi will do to expedite the prosecution of drug dealers as it threatens the sanity of the nation.
Kgathi said the disposal rate of drug related cases is dependent on a chain of processes from investigation, prosecution, defense attorneys, which affect the speed of disposal.
With regards to what the ministry is doing to expedite the prosecution of drug dealers, he said parliament has passed the Illicit Traffic in narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Bill on the 19th June 2018, whose provisions have tightened investigation and prosecution scope as well as penalties for drug dealers.
Of late, the Director of Crime Intelligence Branch (CRIB) of Botswana Police Service, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Nunu Lesetedi has been on the national television where he declared a war on drugs.
He revealed several times in the media that international drug traffickers have descended on the country and were working with local dealers to distribute their merchandise, which prompted BPS to launch a crackdown on the syndicates and their local partners mostly from South Africa and Swaziland.
Lesetedi’s crackdown follows several warnings from international institutions who long cautioned that Botswana is targeted by drug traffickers as a trans-shipment point for shipments of precursor chemicals, especially Methaqualone the main chemical used in the illicit manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants such as mandrax tablets.
The US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics Matters reported several times that Botswana is a transit country for Methaqualone or mandrax, a trade name for Methaqualone combined with an antihistamine, and that cocaine from South America transit Botswana en route to South Africa. Further, Marijuana and heroin also transit the country with small amounts going to the US. Further, the same warnings have been said by the International Narcotics Control that Botswana is a transit country primarily for mandrax (Methaqualone) shipped through East and Central Africa from India and destined for South Africa.
The US Department of State International Narcotics Control also uttered the same warnings.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) listed Botswana among eight African countries targeted by drug smugglers as diversion transit areas for their illegal precursor chemicals.