Vol No: 83,
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Blue watch

Two More Brits arrested in Ghana

TWO BRITISH teenagers have been arrested in Accra on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine into Britain.

It is the second similar case in four months raising fears that international drugs cartels are manipulating the naivety of young Londoners with offers of free holidays.

Police sources named the pair as student Mindages Puckorius, 16, and Audrius Dilys, 19, a warehouse man.

Both were travelling on Lithuanian passports and were stopped as they tried to board a Ghana International Airlines flight to Gatwick on Saturday night. They had passed several security checks and were only spotted when Dilys began limping.

"He was asked to take off his shoe and refused," said a police source. "It was forcibly removed and several pellets of cocaine were found in it.

"They also admitted swallowing the stuff." The two are estimated to have been carrying four kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of up to £600,000 once it has been cut several times over.

Meanwhile two British girls are currently on trial after being arrested in July.

Yasemin Vatansever and Yatunde Diya, both aged 16, face up to three years in prison for allegedly trying to smuggle 6kg of cocaine to Britain. Their trial is due to finish later this month.

They say they were unaware of the drugs in their luggage and were tricked into acting as mules.

British customs officials are working with Ghanaian officers to stem the illicit trade. They have seized more than £30m of cocaine in the past year.

West Africa has emerged recently as a major hub for South American cocaine. Smugglers have largely given up on the Caribbean islands, where they have been targeted by a successful British and West Indian operation.

Now countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Senegal as well as Ghana are emerging as transit points.

It is understood that Puckorius and Dilys have told officers from Ghana's Narcotics Control Board that they had been offered a free holiday. But things turned sour as they prepared to return home.

They said they were forced to swallow pellets of cocaine at gunpoint. Dilys also hid some in his luggage and the remainder in his shoe.

Gary Nicholls, spokesman for the British High Commission in Accra, said officials were aware of the arrests.

"This is another example of drugs cartels targeting young and innocent people for trafficking.

"It is the third time a 16- year-old has been caught in this way."

As well as using teenagers, the trade has become increasingly sophisticated in the past year.

Drugs officers have found cocaine mixed with plastic and moulded into the structure of suitcase

Credit: ADM Ghana.


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