An attempt to smuggle to the United Kingdom (UK), suspected Indian hemp wrapped in dried plantain leaves to make it appear as ‘Fante kenkey’ was last Monday foiled at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) with the arrest of a 62-year-old driver.
The compressed dried leaves had been tied in transparent plastic, wrapped in the dried plantain leaves and neatly packed in 10 unlabelled cartons.
Each carton was found to contain between 10 and 20 of the fake Fante kenkey.
Speaking to journalists, the Deputy Accra Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Timothy Y. Bonga, said policemen, acting on a tip off, monitored the movement of the driver of the vehicle conveying the fake kenkey to the KIA and arrested him at the Aviance Cargo Section of the airport.
He said the driver, identified as Yaw Opoku, mentioned a travel and tour agent, Kwaku Boateng, as the person who had hired his services to convey the consignment to the cargo section of the airport.
Boateng, according to Mr Bonga, was later arrested at the Sonnidom Filling Station at Achimota in Accra.
He was said to have mentioned the name of the owner of the consignment as Frank Akowah but could not lead the police to arrest the said Akowah.
Mr Bonga said about 8 p.m. on October 19, 2015, the police received information about an attempt by some persons to smuggle compressed dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp from Ghana to the UK.
He said the intelligence gathered showed that a Hyundai mini bus, with registration number GB 5409-12, was being used for the operation.
“The Accra Regional Police Command dispatched a team of detectives to the KIA to lay surveillance and arrest the suspect,” he said.
While the plain-clothes police detectives laid ambush, he said, the Hyundai mini bus was spotted about 10:30 p.m. heading towards the Aviance Cargo Section of the airport.
“The team intercepted the vehicle and when a search was conducted, 10 cartons of compressed dried leaves neatly packaged and concealed in dried plantain leaves wrapped in transparent plastic were retrieved from the mini bus,” Mr Bonga said..
He said efforts were underway to get Akowah arrested, while investigations continued.
The contents of the cartons are to be taken to the laboratory for forensic testing.