Gambia: Arrest warrant for suspect in largest drug bust

Mustapha K Darboe

BANJUL, Gambia (AA) – Gambia issued an international arrest warrant Friday for Banta Keita, a suspected drug dealer behind the nation’s largest cocaine bust last week.

Government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh announced that Interpol issued a Red Notice for the French citizen of Gambian descent who evaded arrest and reportedly fled to Senegal through its southern border, Casamance, after the drugs were seized by anti-narcotic agents.

Weighing nearly 3 tons and with a street value of about $88 million, the drugs were seized Jan. 7 at the country’s seaport.

Keita and suspected local accomplice Sheriff Njie were charged by a local court in Banjul on three counts of drug trafficking-related charges. Njie is already remanded to the state central prison on the outskirts of Banjul.

“President Adama Barrow directed Security Chiefs to immediately constitute a ‘multi-agency taskforce’ that shall conduct a robust, thorough and impartial investigation into the case and ensure that all legal means are utilized in bringing the culprits to justice,” said Sankareh. “President Barrow unequivocally condemned drug abuse and trafficking, and declared zero tolerance for traffickers.”

Gambia has been used as a transit route for illicit drugs from South America bound for Europe and other destinations.