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29 Nov, 2023 19:19

African nation seizes three tons of cocaine

A ship in international waters off the coast of Senegal was brought back to a naval base in Dakar to assess the illegal cargo
African nation seizes three tons of cocaine

Nearly three tons of cocaine have been confiscated from a ship moored off the coast of Senegal, the nation’s navy announced on Tuesday. The seizure was reportedly Senegal’s largest drug haul on record. 

The vessel Ville d’Abidjan was intercepted in international waters 150km from Dakar on Sunday night, the military said, adding that of the ten crew members on board, one was Senegalese. On Tuesday, the ship was escorted to the Admiral Faye Gassama Naval Base in Dakar for “identification and logging of the seized products,” including 2.975 tons of pure cocaine.  

Senegalese authorities seized 800 kg of cocaine off the coast of Dakar in January and confiscated 300 kg of the drug from a refrigerated truck entering from Mali in October. In 2021, the Senegalese Navy confiscated 2.026 tons of cocaine from a ship several hundred kilometers off the coast.  

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has highlighted West Africa as a growing region of drug consumption, as well as an increasingly important transit point. At least 57 tons of the drug were intercepted in or en route to West Africa between 2019 and 2022, with 4.7 tons of that found in Senegal.  

Cocaine production reached an all-time high this year, according to the UNODC, which noted that despite the ongoing global “war on drugs,” improvements in cultivation and processing technology coupled with new transit hubs and ever-increasing demand have led to an explosion in supply. 

At the same time, the office said, authorities are seizing more cocaine than ever, with interceptions rising even faster than production, according to a UNODC report released in March.