2.5 metric tons of cocaine was seized yesterday by a French military vessel, off the coast of West Africa. The “Blue Atlantic” was carrying 92 barrels of cocaine, leaving officials dumbfounded as to how to dispose of the massive cargo. Officials arrested 9 Ghanaian traffickers in what was the biggest drug bust in Liberian history. While this arrest/seizure was in many ways a huge success, I believe it ignites as many fears as it allays.
West Africa, has increasingly become a point favored by Latin American drug cartels because of weak local law enforcement and a largely unsupervised coastline… if this had hit the Liberian market, it would have destroyed the entire country (Ashford Pearl, the head of Port Security in Monrovia) read more here.
When I was in Ghana this summer, the young people informed me of the rapid increase of drug trafficking over the past two decades. This article reveals that the growing drug problem transcends Ghanaian boarders. According to the young people, the drugs have spread so quickly in West Africa because the government is faced with other priorities, such as health, energy, war and hunger. Unfortunately, these issues take precedence over drug prevention. Because of these factors, as well as lack of security, many West African nations are becoming criminal hotbeds, offering new clientèle and lower risk shipping routes for the international drug trade. For every “Blue Atlantic” I’m sure there are dozens of other ships that dock on West African soil unchallenged. This could prove particularly detrimental in some of the developing West African nations where the anti-drug/drug treatment infrastructure is weak. The 21st century Opium Wars are being waged on African soil, and we can’t afford any more casualties. I only hope this seizure will do more to raise consciousness about the importance of keeping the drug trade out of Africa.