ACCRA, Jun 5 – The head of security at Ghana’s main international airport has been arrested in the US on charges of heroin trafficking, in the latest sign of a growing narcotics trade in west Africa, statements obtained by AFP on Wednesday said.
Solomon Adelaquaye, the head of a private firm contracted to run security at the Accra airport, was charged alongside his Colombian and two Nigerian co-conspirators, Ghana’s Narcotics Control Board and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said.
In February 2012, Adelaquaye used his influence at the airport to guide a laptop packed with heroin through security in exchange for $10,000, (7,600 euros), according to the DEA.
Then, last month, the group made new plans to move 3,000 kilograms of cocaine through Accra in 25-kilogram instalments.
All of their negotiations, held mainly in Accra, were caught on tape by uncover DEA agents, statements said.
Adelaquaye, 48, and the two Nigerians – Frank Muodum, and Celestine Ofor Orjinweke – were arrested in New York on May 9, according to the DEA.
It was not clear why they travelled to the US ahead of their arrest and the US embassy in Accra did not immediately respond to enquiries.
Samuel Antonio Pinedo-Rueda, 72, was arrested in Colombia on May 16 and is awaiting extradition, the DEA said.
“Drug trafficking in west Africa has become a plague,” Derek Maltz, DEA special agent said in the June 3 statement.