The head of security at Ghanaâ€™s main international airport has been arrested in the US on charges of heroin trafficking, in the latest sign of a growing narcotics trade in west Africa, statements obtained by AFP on Wednesday said.
Solomon Adelaquaye, the head of a private firm contracted to run security at the Accra airport, was charged alongside his Colombian and two Nigerian co-conspirators, Ghanaâ€™s Narcotics Control Board and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said.
In February 2012, Adelaquaye used his influence at the airport to guide a laptop packed with heroin through security in exchange for $10,000, (7,600 euros), according to the DEA.
Then, last month, the group made new plans to move 3,000 kilograms of cocaine through Accra in 25-kilogram instalments.
All of their negotiations, held mainly in Accra, were caught on tape by uncover DEA agents, statements said.
Adelaquaye, 48, and the two Nigerians â€“ Frank Muodum, and Celestine Ofor Orjinweke â€“ were arrested in New York on May 9, according to the DEA.
It was not clear why they travelled to the US ahead of their arrest and the US embassy in Accra did not immediately respond to enquiries.
Samuel Antonio Pinedo-Rueda, 72, was arrested in Colombia on May 16 and is awaiting extradition, the DEA said.
â€œDrug trafficking in west Africa has become a plague,â€ Derek Maltz, DEA special agent said in the June 3 statement
The agency identified Adelaquaye as the individual â€œwho was responsible for security at the international airport in Ghana.â€
Ghanaâ€™s narcotics bureau said Adelaquaye was the managing director of a private firm called Sohin Security, which has security contracts at airports across the country.
Those contracts have been â€œsuspended with immediate effect,â€ the bureau said.
Documents filed to a federal court in New York, where the group has been charged, said the heroin came from Afghanistan, which had been brought to Ghana by Pinedo-Rueda.
Analysts say Ghana, a nation of some 25 million people, is an emerging trafficking hub for South American and Asian narcotics destined for sale in the US and Europe.
Transportation infrastructure is advanced compared to other countries in west Africa, but corruption among customs and port officials remains rampant, according to analysts.
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DEA NEWS: International Drug Traffickers Charged in Manhattan Federal Court
JUNE 03 (WASHINGTON)Â Â – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Derek Maltz, the Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), today announced the unsealing of charges against Samuel Antonio Pinedo-Rueda, Solomon Adelaquaye, Frank Muodum, and Celestine Ofor Orjinweke on charges that they conspired to import heroin into the United States.Â Pinedo-Rueda, 72, a citizen of Colombia, was apprehended in Colombia on May 16, 2013 pursuant to a Red Notice issued at the request of the United States, and is awaiting extradition.Â Adelaquaye, 48, a citizen of Ghana, and Muodum, 44, and Orjinweke, 53, citizens of Nigeria, were arrested in New York on May 9, 2013, and were presented and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.Â The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams….. Read More Here DEA