1.2 tonnes of dagga seized

Cannabis remains the most popular illicit drug in Namibia, with most of the supply coming from South Africa and Lesotho.

05 March 2019 | Crime

The Namibian police arrested 60 suspects during drug seizures in February.

In a statement released yesterday, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi said 56 of the suspects were locals, one was from Mozambique and three from eSwatini.

Dagga remains Namibia's favourite drug, with a whopping 1.2 tonnes, valued at N$12.4 million, seized. Dagga plants weighing 1.2 kilograms, valued at just over N$30 000, were also seized.

Other seizures included 434 Mandrax tablets with a street value of N$520 800; 55 grams of cocaine, valued at N$17 500; and crack cocaine with a street value of N$22 300. The police also seized 19 abortion tablets, valued just over N$4 000. Earlier this month, Namibian Sun reported that during the period 2012 to 2016 a total of 2.2 tonnes of dagga, 2.25 tonnes of dagga plants, 4 821 units of crack cocaine and 16 436 Mandrax tablets were confiscated in Namibia. The police also seized 37 straws of crystal methamphetamine (tik) and 40 tonnes of ephedrine, the active ingredient in tik, during that period.

The retired head of the Namibian Police drug squad, Deputy Commissioner Hermie van Zyl, told Namibian Sun in 2017 that dagga was the most common drug in Namibia, while the Khomas, Erongo and Oshana regions had the highest drug consumption.

He said because it is so cheap, dagga is a popular drug among many users. “It is actually your drug for the poorer people and the beginner drug for many.” He said the type of drug a person used depended on their status and income.

Van Zyl said crack cocaine and Mandrax were also popular in Namibia, followed by Ecstasy. These were mostly found in Windhoek, Swakopmund and in the north.

“But Ecstasy is more of a party drug and then you will get a little bit of LSD. That is the drug that makes you hallucinate, makes you see things and makes you think you can crawl through keyholes.”

He said dagga was mainly smuggled into Namibia from Lesotho and South Africa, and also at Rundu via Angola.

Cocaine came from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, via South Africa. According to Van Zyl, Ecstasy came from Europe via South Africa, and LSD from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

He said a popular way to smuggle dagga was by using commercial trucks. Therefore, customs officials at border posts were trained to look out for the newest methods drug smugglers might use.

Although there were no official statistics, Van Zyl was of the view that drugs are a huge problem in the country.

“This I know from what drug users and sellers have told me,” he said.

YANNA SMITH

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