June 4, 2024

83 drug dealers convicted, 91 bases shut

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Trust Freddy
POLICE have arrested over 5 300 suspected drug dealers leading to the conviction of 83 offenders in the first quarter of 2024, while 91 drug bases have also been shut down as the Government intensifies efforts to rid communities of drug-related crimes.
This development comes after the Government last year declared drug and substance abuse a national threat and availed $500 million under the Drug and Substance Abuse Mitigation Fund as part of efforts by the Second Republic to speed up high-impact activities in the fight against the drug menace.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said from January to March 28, the country had made a significant dent in the illegal drug industry, with the CID Drugs and Narcotics Unit arresting a total number of 525 suppliers and 4 839 end users.
Minister Kazembe revealed this last Wednesday in Parliament, while giving an update on measures being taken to curb drug and substance abuse.
He also revealed that, out of 5 364 arrests made, the majority (4 327) were individuals under 35 years, while 1 037 were those above 35.
As usual, males dominated the arrests, with 4 506 males arrested, compared to 858 females and of the 83 persons convicted, 55 were male and 28 were female.
Minister Kazembe also stated that a total of 4 962 individuals had paid deposit fines, adding that 91 drug bases had been destroyed, while 153 awareness campaigns had been carried out.
In all cases, the ministry advocates for a deterrent sentence.
“This office recommends custodial sentences in all issues to do with drug and substance as a deterrent measure to the scourge.
“However, our recommendations have been referred to the Attorney-General’s Office who have the duty to amend the existing laws.
“Recommendations by this office for amendment of all the existing laws to deal with drug and substance abuse are being worked on by the policy and legal pillar to the National Elimination Committee on drug and substance abuse.”
The police, Minister Kazembe said, were joining hands with community members and other stakeholders to reduce the demand for drugs and raise awareness on the consequences of substance abuse.
“Disruptive raids are being done to all residential places of known drug dealers and all tip offs, which are received concerning those who are implicated in selling drugs, are being actioned within 24 hours.
“Operational teams are being deployed in various places countrywide with the intention to conduct surveillance in all areas monitoring those who are involved in drug dealing activities and make sure they are apprehended.
“At exit and entry points, the police is deploying its members who work with other agencies such as ZIMRA, Immigration and those from other services, zeroing in on monitoring, surveillance and law enforcement.
“Police officers are also conducting passenger profiling at all airports. This drug interdiction effort can successfully assist to identify potential drug traffickers through intelligence and analysing travel history of those passengers.”
He said authorities were conducting cargo profiling as part of efforts to close all loopholes.
“Police are monitoring drugs in cargo and all cargo profiles according to its source, consignee or receipt and the flight it comes aboard.
Cargo from known source countries may contain contraband and alert police officers can pick it. This can lead to seizure of big contrabands.”

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