–DEC nabs 1,618 people

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The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) arrested 1,618 people  for drug related offences countrywide in the second quarter of 2014.

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This is in comparison to 1,422 people arrested for similar offences in the first quarter of the year.

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The DEC has attributed the upswing in the arrests to the recent joint operation of the security wings conducted in Lusaka’s Chibolya area.

Of the total number of people arrested, 1,496 were males while 122 were females aged between 14 and 97 years old.

Meanwhile, 59 male juveniles were arrested by the Commission during the period under review  while 50 foreign nationals were nabbed.

DEC Public Relations Officer Theresa Katongo disclosed this in a media statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today.

Ms Katongo said out of the 1,618 people arrested, 416 people have been convicted for various drug related offences and 1,150 cases are still pending in court.

She said during the period under review, the Commission seized 14 tonnes of cannabis, with eastern province recording the highest seizure of 8.1 tonnes and followed by Copperbelt province with 1.5 tonnes.

Other drugs seized were 700 kilo grams of miraa, 2 .1kilo grams of cocaine, 21 grams of heroine, diazepam, egometrine, lignocaine and hashish.

Ms Katongo said a reduction had been recorded in counterfeit note peddling from US$97,200 seized between January and March 2014 to US$2,578 between April and June.

A total of K80, 200 counterfeit notes was seized in the second quarter compared to K698, 400 in the first quarter.

She said 16 people were arrested for money laundering offences involving K1, 290,690 and US$1,500 out of which four have been convicted and the remaining cases are also pending in court.

Ms Katongo said that the Commission intends to intensify sensitization programmes in order to address the drug scourge in the country.

She said 41,045 people were reached out to in the last three months through various public awareness campaigns compared to 65,572 between January and March 2014.

Ms Katongo noted that counseling and rehabilitation programmes are yielding positive results as 82 people between 13 and 49 years old were counseled.

She warned members of the public to desist from substance abuse and instead support the Commission in its work.

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