The Namibian Police arrested a long-distance commuter bus driver Gabriel Lukas at the Oshivelo police checkpoint with drugs valued at N$22 000 a week ago.
The bust could be a major breakthrough in what is suspected to be a ring of commuter bus operators acting as mules for a network of transfrontier drug traffickers.
The ring is suspected to operate from Soutyh Africa to the south of Namibia to Angola to the north.
Lukas is no charged with being in possession of and distribution of drugs.
According to Namibian Police Head of Communications Chief Edwin Kanguatjivi, Lukas is said to have been transporting the drugs from the north by hiding the box that contained the thirty parcels of cannabis on the bus.
“This bust was as a result of police intelligence. One of our constables was vigilant enough to detect the box items which looked very suspicious and when he probed further to the extent that he had the box opened he made the discovery of the cannabis. Officers should always be vigilant and go further to uncover these suspicious looking items,” urged Kanguatjivi.
Lukas appeared in the Tsumeb Magistrate court on Monday where he was granted bail of N$10 000.
Kanguatjivi said while he cannot generalise, the police are aware that some commuter buses are used in the distribution of narcotics.
“We are aware that the transport industry is infiltrated by drug dealers who use them to transport drugs throughout the country. We have many arrests made in connection with drugs on buses, trucks and courier vehicles that transport parcels from South Africa. We know this is a chain. You have a main dealer who receives the parcels and that main dealer distributes to the wholesaler who has his own outlet and in many cases bus drivers are used to transport these drugs. We want to appeal to the public to inform us on these activities,” said Kanguatjivi.
Another source that who is a bus driver that The Villager spoke to on condition of anonymity confirmed that commuter buses are the popular mode of transportation.
According to the source he himself had been approached by drug dealers to carry small parcels to the north from Windhoek at a fee that appealed to him as free money and he could not refuse.
“When they approached me I didn’t know what it was I was just paid N$500 to bring to small package to someone waiting for it in Oshakati. It happens all the time people come to the loading areas and ask us the drivers to drop their parcels, envelopes and we take it with any suspicions, they pay us. I had been dropping small packages for that one person for almost six months without question and only one day another colleague asked me if I knew what I was transporting then I got the mind to open the package to discovered I was carrying drugs,’’ he said.
“Drug smugglers know that it’s easy to carry their loot through buses because the buses system is too anonymous and causal for police and if anyone gets arrested it will not be them,” he adds.