Monrovia — City Court Magistrate Jomah S. Jallah on Monday forwarded three defendants in the US$100 Million drug trafficking case to Criminal Court “A” on grounds that the Monrovia City Court lacks jurisdiction in the matter.
Defendant Makki Ahmed Issam, a resident of Sinkor along with co-defendants Adulai Djibril Djalo and Oliver Allen Zayzay were turned over to the government on Thursday, October 6, through Lorenzo Pehlam, Deputy Director for Operations, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) for allegedly trafficking drugs between the Liberian and Sierra Leonean borders as well as money laundering and criminal conspiracy.
The Government of Sierra Leone arrested and turned over to its Liberian counterpart the three men who were allegedly involved in the shipment of five hundred and twenty kilogram (520kg) of cocaine valued at one hundred million United States dollars (USD 100m).
The defendants on October 1, concealed in 28 cartons of pig feet labeled with Alegra foods which was seized at the SONIT Liberia Incorporated compound, Topoe village, Japanese Freeway, Montserrado County.
During the background investigation, police said it was also established that on October 1, a Lebanese man, defendant Issam, was seen at the Fresh Frozen Food company located Bong Mines Pearl with co-defendant Conte negotiating for the purchase of the container marked MNBU4070592 on behalf of co-defendants Conte and Adulai.
Defendant Issam accordingly escaped upon the arrest of co-defendant Conte and subsequently fled to neighboring Sierra Leone along with co-defendants Oliver and Adulai.
Back in Monrovia, the defendants were detained at a national security withholding cell for 23 days, while undergoing interrogation.
On November 2, 2022, the Criminal Court “A” received a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus from the lawyers of the defendants asking the court to demand the Government of Liberia produce the living bodies of the accused.
The defendants’ lawyers alleged that the men have been detained for 23 days or beyond the 48 hours as provided by law, noting that said action was illegal.
The Government of Liberia, having been cited by the court, produced the living bodies of the men but justified why they were detained.
According to the government, their detention beyond the Constitutional 48 hours was as a result of a national security threat.
At the same time, defendants have been charged with unlicensed importation of controlled drugs, money laundering, drugs trafficking, criminal Conspiracy and criminal Facilitation.
Meanwhile, the defendants have been taken back to detention at the Monrovia Central Prison awaiting court trial.