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Senegal customs seize cocaine shipments worth over $50M

Map of Senegal
Map of Senegal

Senegalese customs said Tuesday it had intercepted three shipments of cocaine with a total estimated value of more than $50 million in the past five days.

The authorities have made an increasing number of cocaine seizures in recent months from neighboring countries — notably Guinea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mali — which are reputed to be transit zones for drugs produced in Latin America on their way to Europe.

In a statement on Tuesday, the police said they had intercepted a refrigerated truck near the border with Mali.

"The search of the lorry revealed 264 packets of cocaine weighing a total of 306.24 kilograms, carefully concealed in a hiding place inside the ventilation compartment of the fridge," it said.

The value of the seizure is estimated at $40 million.

The day before, customs officers in the south of the country carried out an operation on a vehicle from "a neighboring country" driven "by an individual from a Sahel country," according to another statement published on Friday.

Customs officers discovered 95 packets of cocaine worth $14.2 million.

Another seizure on Saturday at Blaise Diagne International Airport, near Dakar, led to the discovery of 18 kilograms of cocaine worth around $2.3 million.

The drugs were in a suitcase that was part of a consignment of unaccompanied luggage "coming from a country bordering Senegal and bound for a European Union country."

Several seizures of cocaine have been announced by customs in recent months, including a 1-ton haul in mid-April in the east of the country, near the border with Mali, and several others earlier this month.

In November, the army announced the seizure of nearly 3 tons of cocaine from a vessel seized in international waters off the coast of Senegal.