Traffickers conceal drugs in condoms, police say

KAMPALA- Police have seized 1,990 kilogrammes of narcotic drugs from traffickers in Uganda in 2016.

The illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine, were seized from Entebbe Airport and other border points.

Traffickers conceal drugs in condoms, wigs, parcels and car spare parts to smuggle them in and out of the country.

The revelation was made on Wednesday when the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter West was handling over equipment to help police fight the drug smuggling.

The equipment was handed to the Director of Criminal Investigations Ms Grace Akullo on Tuesday in Kampala.

The police seized 14.6kgs of cocaine, 64.7kgs of heroin, 1760kgs of cannabis and 150kgs of processed cannabis, according to police.

Some of the contrabands are smuggled through condoms, handcrafts, fruits and pellets that are swallowed by some smugglers.

This is the biggest seizure in the history of Uganda police. In 2014, police seized 1.2 tonnes of narcotic drugs.

Ms Akullo said the new equipment p would boost their management of information at border points.

“There are number of suspects arrested with narcotics in different countries but when our counterparts there investigate, they find that the origin of the drugs is Uganda. In 2015, we recovered narcotic drugs in passion fruits packed for export,” Ms Akullo said.

Ms Akullo said there is need for a colour separators machine at Entebbe International Airport that can detect narcotic drugs.

Currently, Uganda has no machine that can detect drugs concealed in luggage. They only use manual methods and sniffer dogs.

“Where pellets containing drugs are swallowed, we can’t track them without these machines,” she said.

Due to lack of equipment, the police report indicated that most traffickers who take drugs to Europe prefer using major courier companies.

Mr West said there is need for African countries to increase their alertness in tracking drug traffickers, who often look for new ways of beating the system.

“A-class drugs are low in Uganda. It is a potential problem once you [a country] become a transit route. The traffickers ensure that you have the market for those drugs,” Mr West said.

The Commissioner in charge of Narcotics, Mr Tinka Zarugaba said most heroin trafficked in Uganda is transported from Kenya and Tanzania.

“Trafficked drugs are concealed in many ways but the notable ones are stomach by swallowing pellets, suit cases, computers, phone handsets, women’s wigs, breasts, handcrafts, car spare parts, and furniture from Asian countries,” Mr Zarugaba said.

After the rise in cases of trafficking, in November last year, government started implementing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 2015, which gives harsher punishments to drug pushers and traffickers.

Convicts are now sentenced to jail terms ranging from 10 to 38 years in addition to fines that are twice the price of the drugs they were found with.

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