Public turn to drugs during lockdown

By Maria Hamutenya

POLICE countrywide arrested 12 suspects for drug related offenses and contraband worth around N$54 850 in just three days.  The arrests were made between 17 -19 April.  There is a widespread suspicion that increasing numbers of people may be resorting to drug use due to the sudden ban on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown, which has been extended to 4 May.

Statistics released by Namibian police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi for three days over the past weekend show that Khomas region had the highest number of drug related arrests, followed by //Karas, Ohangwena, Oshana and Hardap region.

The data shows that cannabis is still the preferred illegal drug as 5,057 grams valued at N$51,590 were confiscated over the weekend, as well as 20 Mandrax tablets valued at N$2,460 and eight pieces of crack cocaine valued at N$800.

Among those taken in over the weekend was a 48-year-old Rwandan male arrested on Friday at Onhuno Refugee Camp after he was searched and found in possession of 3,985 grams of cannabis valued at N$39,850. He is set to appear in court on Monday.

In Khomas region a 29-year-old male was arrested on Saturday at Otjomuise 8ste Laan after he was searched and found in possession of 360 grams of cannabis valued N$4,750. In another case a 26-year-old Namibian male was arrested in Katutura after being found with 50 grams of cannabis valued at N$1,000.

Police records further show that two males, aged 26 and 30 years respectively, were arrested in Rehoboth after being found in possession of 19 Mandrax tablets valued at N$2,280. In the past three months, the police have confiscated 173,757kg of cannabis with a street value of N$1.7 million.

The records further indicate that 706 Mandrax tablets with an estimated value of N$84,720 were seized by law enforcement officers from January to March. They had confiscated a total 1,522 Mandrax tablets worth N$182 640 in the past three months.

For the period January to March the police arrested 248 suspects in connection with drug-related offenses. Of those arrested, 238 were Namibians, four Angolans and two from Tanzania.