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Seychelles' law enforcement agencies building networks and presence to fight entry of drugs

Victoria, Seychelles | June 12, 2024, Wednesday @ 09:15 in National » GENERAL | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2833
Seychelles' law enforcement agencies building networks and presence to fight entry of drugs

The latest arrest at sea was an Iranian Dhow on June 7 by the Seychelles Coast Guard. (Seychelles Defence Forces)  

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Law enforcement agencies in Seychelles are building networks and increasing police presence in the communities in renewed efforts to fight the increase in synthetic drugs entering the country.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ned Wirtz, announced in a press conference held at the Seychelles Police Headquarters on Tuesday. The press conference also updated the public on its progress in the fight against drugs, following the recent arrests of nine Iranians on suspicion of drug trafficking.

"We are intensifying our efforts on the borders of both seaports and airports and working with all our partners. Given the size of our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), we have been working very closely with the Seychelles Coast Guard to reach areas we cannot," explained Wirtz.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has an EEZ of 1.4 million square kilometres making it difficult for surveillance of illegal activities at sea. 

Wirtz said, "We are still challenged where sea entry points are concerned."

In addition to intercepting the entry of illicit drugs into the country at the entry points, Wirtz said the authorities were working to establish more reliable networks to receive credible intelligence.

"The fight against drugs is not exclusive to the police, we also need the help of citizens who have information on drug trafficking to give us," he added.

According to police figures for the year 2023, a total of 623 kilogrammes of heroin, 10.5 kilogrammes of cocaine, 1.8 kilogrammes of herbal cannabis, 4.9 kilogrammes of resin, and 388.6 kilogrammes of methamphetamine were seized.

"Our work with our international partners shows an increase in synthetic drugs entering the western Indian Ocean," said Wirtz.

He added that the local police force has been trained to recognise and deal with such drugs entering the island nation.

In February last year, six law enforcement officers from Seychelles, participated in an 'Undercover and Surveillance Techniques' training by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Mauritius.

Wirtz revealed that the officers are working with various agencies to keep an eye on "any information such as bills of lading that may show certain people plan on making methamphetamine here."

He said while the police have made some successes there are still areas where they face challenges.

Wirtz said that law enforcement agencies will be conducting more patrols in the community to have more of a presence despite the need for manpower. 

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Tags: Seychelles Coast Guard, Seychelles police, Drug Enforcement Administration

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