The Gambia continues to being used by South American drug cartels as a transit point for their products to reach Europe, intelligence sources say.
The trafficking of narcotics through the West African country has increased since the ouster of the longtime ruler, Yahya Jammeh.
Drugs cartels are taking advantage of the country poverty and weak security and justice system, which has been strained by the months of political turmoil that followed Jammeh’s defeat in the polls and investigations into human rights abuses.
Jammeh had been tied to Latin American drug organizations with links to Western Africa.
His private presidential jet registered to the Gambia Government has been spotted severally in Peru and Costa Rica.
Intelligence sources said the drugs are being trafficked through the Banjul International Airport.
“The increase in the trafficking is catching the attention of international law enforcement agencies and there is a need for a shake-up and an investigation,” said the source.
Police with the involvement of British authorities in the Gambia seized a record haul of Europe-bound cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars in 2010.
Gambian police arrested 12 suspects including a citizen of the Netherlands and Venezuelan employees of a Gambian-based fishing company and confiscated arms and cash from suspected warehouses.
Several security officers and chiefs have been arrested on drug trafficking charges.
In recent years, Colombian and Mexican drug cartels have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and expanded into West Africa, working in tandem with local criminal gangs to carve out a staging area for an assault on the lucrative European market.
Officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency say that not one West African country has been left untainted by drugs. Africa’s Gold Coast is sometimes referred to now as the “Coke Coast.”