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Pushers find new ways to smuggle drugs

PINI BOTHOKO
As the police intensify their fight against drug-trafficking and use, drug dealers are believed to have employed new strategies to beat the system.

The Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) director of crime intelligence, Nunu Lesetedi told Mmegi that peddlers have found new ways of smuggling drugs into the country through the border by using innocent people as ‘mules’.

He said that they recently arrested truck drivers who were transporting luggage, which included drugs, but did not know the owners.

“Usually they would claim to have been asked by strangers to drop the luggage to someone in Botswana from South Africa.

Such people would ask a favour from travellers when leaving for Botswana to take along their luggage whilst knowing that the luggage contains drugs,” Lesetedi said.

He said that in most instances, the travellers and truck drivers would be clueless about what’s inside the luggage, which they transport for a fee.  Lesetedi cautioned members of the public from accepting or agreeing to transport strangers’ luggage without knowing what it contains.

“People should learn to scrutinise the luggage before taking it to avoid being used to transport drugs across the borders.

If the police find drugs inside the luggage in one’s possession, that person will be responsible for it. People should be cautious about their love for money as it can put them in trouble,” Lesetedi said. He said that the police have identified Mozambique as the main source of dagga that is in abundance in local streets.

“This dagga is transported from

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Mozambique into South Africa then to Botswana. In most instances it is smuggled through ungazetted entries with only a few finding a way through the borders.

Over the weeken,d the police had a good catch and managed to stop a car that had found its way from Martin’s Drift border post with three big bags of dagga.   The owner and driver of the car who is currently in police custody, claimed that someone in South Africa asked him for a favour and gave him money in return to take along the luggage to Francistown where someone was supposed to pick it up.

He claimed not to know what was inside the bags,” Lesetedi said.

He said amongst the bags were two five-litre paint containers filled with dagga at the bottom whilst on top of the cans was a layer of sugar and flour. “The bags and cans contained 74 sealed large balls of dagga worth more than P300,000 in the street value,” Lesetedi said.

Lesetedi said that the police arrested several people during their weekend raids in Mahalapye, Palapye and Serowe.

“This shows that despite our efforts to curb drug use in the country, it (drug use) is still high.  We have realised that drugs, especially dagga is still in demand all over the country, hence the need to intensify our raids,” Lesetedi said.



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