Niger police seize more than 200kg of cocaine from mayor's truck

Police in northern Niger have seized more than 200kg of cocaine worth around $8.7m that was being transported in the local mayor's official truck, two police sources said on Monday.
Image source: © Hennadii Huchek –
Image source: © Hennadii Huchek –

The mayor and his driver, who were in the vehicle at the time, were arrested with 199 bricks of cocaine at a checkpoint on the road heading north out of the desert trading hub of Agadez on Sunday, the sources said.

A statement from Niger's Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (OCRTIS) confirmed that there had been a record seizure of more than 200kg of cocaine in Agadez, but did not give details.

West Africa, most often a transit route for illegal drugs on the way from South America to Europe, has registered a series of record busts in recent years.

Senegal seized more than two tonnes of pure cocaine from a ship off its Atlantic coast in October, and Gambian authorities seized nearly three tonnes last January from a shipment originating in Ecuador.

After 17 tonnes of cannabis resin worth around $37m were seized in Niger last May, Interpol's drug unit coordinator Jan Drapal told Reuters that drug kingpins were sending larger shipments in response to increasing European demand.

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Reporting by David Lewis and Boureima Balima; writing by Cooper Inveen; editing by Nick Macfie

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