Lusaka, Wednesday 24th January, 2024.
Over the weekend, The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in North Western Province conducted a series of targeted operations resulting in the arrest and charging of 12 suspects involved in cultivating and trafficking over 1.2 tonnes of fresh cannabis plants.
And in a statement today, DEC Public Relations Mwenge Mulenga said in Kalumbila District, four individuals identified as Peter Malupenga, aged 21, Richard Kameya, aged 40, Beatrice Benela, aged 48, and Lazalous Kameya, 32, were apprehended in the Shilende area, for unlawful cultivation of a staggering 730 kilograms of fresh cannabis plants.
He said additional operations in Solwezi District led to the capture of suspects in the Mulenga and Kisasa areas, where Brian Kayeze, aged 40, and Future Kayeze, aged 22, were arrested and jointly charged for the cultivation of 350 kilograms of fresh cannabis plants.
Mr. Mulenga noted that in the Kisasa area in Kalumbila, the Commission arrested Vickson Kapita, aged 58 and Oswell Lolozhi, aged 44, for cultivating 150 kilograms of the illegal plant.
He further stated that in the Mazabula area, Violet Chinyama, aged 39, was apprehended for trafficking in 48 balls and suspected loose cannabis weighing approximately 1.1 kilograms.
And Mr. Mulenga revealed that in a separate incident, three juveniles were apprehended in the Zambia Compound of Solwezi for trafficking 534 grams of loose cannabis.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mulenga said in Muchinga Province, the Commission has apprehended a Tanzanian national, Jose Joseph Simfukwe, aged 38, for trafficking in 1.3 kilograms of loose cannabis and being in possession of 20 sachets of heroin weighing 0.574 grams during an operation in Nakonde District on 20th January 2024.
“This operation reviewed well-established cross-border trafficking, with Simfukwe believed to be working alongside unidentified accomplices operating between Tunduma town in Tanzania and Nakonde town in Zambia. The seized illicit drugs will serve as crucial evidence against Simfukwe, who faces charges under sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No. 35 of 2021.”
“Drug Enforcement Commission Director General has since commended the officers for their vigilance and commitment to curbing drug trafficking in the country. He has since urged the public to continue providing information about suspicious activities to assist the officers.” Mr. Mulenga said
And Mr. Mulenga said all arrested individuals are expected to appear in court soon on various charges relating to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
“The recent wave of arrests underscores the ongoing challenge of cannabis cultivation and trafficking in Zambia. While authorities continue to crack down on illegal activities, community engagement and education remain crucial in effectively addressing this complex issue.” Mr. Mulenga said