AIRCOP Task Force in Niger, assists in the seizure of 2.5 tons of cannabis

The Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) at Niamey Diori Hamani International Airport in Niger was established in 2014 as part of AIRCOP. Since then, it has seized more than 8 kg of cocaine, 3 kg of methamphetamine, 120 kg of gold, 2 kg of ammunition, 114 stolen or fraudulent identification documents and more than 2 million of undeclared US dollars.

In addition to these achievements, the Niger JAITF was instrumental in an operation which finalised on 13 June, resulting in what is to date the largest single AIRCOP seizure since the beginning of the project in 2010.

In April 2018, the Office Central de Répression du Trafic International de Stupéfiants (OCTRIS – in English: Central Office for the Fight Against International Drug Trafficking), received information that a large network of drug traffickers particularly active in West Africa was increasing its presence in Niger, using the country as a transhipment point to Europe.

Following this lead, potential hiding spots were identified in Niamey, and the JAITF arrested four suspect traffickers at Niamey Airport. The suspects revealed that a large shipment of cannabis sent from Morocco to be stored in Niamey, had been stolen by another criminal organization, which would prompt the traffickers who “owned” the shipment to head to Niger.

Five of them were subsequently targeted and identified by the JAITF upon their arrival at Niamey airport, and were then tracked around the city. This surveillance enabled the JAITF agents to locate their hiding grounds and hand over the investigation to the OCTRIS. The 2 month-long investigation led to the seizure of almost 2.5 tons of cannabis, with an estimated street value of 3 billion CFA francs. OCTRIS and the AIRCOP JAITF were highly praised by the Minister of State for Interior, Public Safety, Decentralization and Customary and Religious Affairs, H.E. Mr Abdou Labo.