(EcoFinances) – Elements of the Directorate General of Customs (DGC), members of Operation Halcomi III (Halt Illicit Trade), made their largest seizure of illicit drugs since the beginning of this year in Garoua, in the North region, on Monday 21 August 2023, according to the DGC’s Communications Unit. This good news will no doubt be welcomed by both the population (whose health is now better protected than ever) and the local drug production industries.
« A real mobile pharmacy, in terms of the classes and specialities listed, with a predominance of Sildenafil citrate (Viagra), anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and anti-malarials. In total: 2,226,840 miscellaneous tablets, 51,200 Viagra tablets and 2,260 sachets and 840 bottles of miscellaneous pharmaceutical products », according to the DGC’s communications unit.
According to the DGC, these illicit drugs were smuggled in from Nigeria in a van, concealed under cartons of refillable lighters, bales of empty bags and Chinese mats. « This is the biggest seizure of illicit drugs made by Cameroon Customs since the beginning of 2023. That’s something for the customs officers to smile about. The society is protected and security is assured », adds the Directorate General of Customs.
02 tons of non-biodegradable packaging seized
But this was not the only haul seized on Tuesday by Cameroon’s customs officers. Long before the illegal drugs were intercepted, on Monday 21 August in Garoua, they seized two (02) tons of non-biodegradable plastic packaging. « Coming from Nigeria, the loot was destined to be sold in the markets of Garoua and the surrounding area. Fortunately, the Customs officers are keeping a close eye on things », the DGC said.
Also in the Nothern regions of the country, a total of 7,000 cigarette rods, 160,000 non-biodegradable plastic wrappers and 03 tricycles were seized on Tuesday 22 August 2023 by members of the Yagoua Commercial Brigade. The cargo came from Nigeria. Cigarettes being a product highly prized by smugglers, a large shipment was seized this time in the South-West region by members of the Idenau Customs Commercial Brigade. In all, 10 cartons containing 100,000 rods of Gold Seal cigarettes were confiscated last Saturday (19 August 2023) at the port of Idenau. The cargo was coming from Nigeria on a boat and was being loaded onto a lorry.
27 cartons of pharmaceutical products seized in Nkometou
Illegal trade is a real threat to the national economy, and not just in the Northern and South West regions. The vigilance of custom officers in the Centre and West regions has borne fruit in recent hours. At 4am on Tuesday 22 August 2023, smugglers trying to take advantage of the night to move their contraband products from Yaoundé to Bafoussam were stopped dead in their tracks at the Nkometou checkpoint (Lékié department, Centre region). The loot extracted from the holds of two public transport buses consisted of 27 cartons of pharmaceutical products.
FCFA 100 billion lost each year
Illicit trade, it should be recalled, costs the national economy significant revenue every year. According to a recent report by the Ministry of Finance (Minfi), Cameroon loses an average of FCFA 100 billion a year to this scourge. Hence the deployment over the past few years of a series of measures to strengthen surveillance systems, such as Operation Halcomi.