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June 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Liberian President’s Son Worked With DEA to Bust Cocaine Traffickers

liberiaBy Glynnesha Taylor

The son of Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf worked undercover with the DEA to bust up a group of drug smugglers who tried using Liberia as a staging area to distribute more than $100 million in South American cocaine to Europe, Africa and the U.S., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said.

Authorities said the son, the director of the Republic of Liberia National Security Agency, along with his deputy director, worked undercover with the DEA and met with traffickers, who offered bribes of cash and cocaine in exchange for safe passage of their drug shipments, authorities said.

Liberian authorities arrested five defendants in the case on May 28 and 29 and turned them over to the U.S., where they face indictment in New York.  U.S. authorities noted that it was the first time in more than 30 years that Liberia had transferred narcotics defendants to the U.S.

The defendants included: Chigbogu Peter Umeh, ,  Konstantin  Yaroshenko,  Gilbrilla Kamara,  Ali Sesay and Gennor Jalloh.

Umeh, 42, of Nigeria, is suspected brokering cocaine shipments from South America to West Africa, and then from there, to Europe or other parts of Africa.  Yoroshenko, 41, is a Russian aircraft pilot, who is accused of transporting cocaine from South America to other parts of the world.  The others also played roles in the cocaine trafficking, authorities alleged, adding that some of the cocaine was destined for New York.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that “traffickers have burrowed a growing foothold in West Africa, sending hundreds of tons of cocaine worth billions of dollars into the region. As today’s charges vividly show, the Government of Liberia has taken an aggressive and emphatic stand in shutting its doors to drug traffickers.”

Liberian President Sirleaf added in a statement: “The Republic of Liberia is officially closed for business to the narcotics trade. We are proud of our strong partnership with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Department of Justice, and we look forward to strengthening and deepening this relationship in the years to come.”

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