From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi
FIVE SUSPECTS are in the firm grips of police for allegedly committing separate acts of indulging in sales of weapons and substances suspected to be Indian hemp.
The five were arrested on Thursday, 4 November, at various locations in Kumasi, after receiving tip-offs from informants about the activities of the suspects.
Three suspects were apprehended for dealing in foreign made pistols, while two were also arrested for engaging in the sale of substances suspected to be marijuana, locally known as “wee”, during a joint operation embarked upon by the Regional Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Buffalo Unit of the Police Service.
Those arrested for dealing in the illegal sale of weapons include Alhaji Azumah Zamramah, a 73-year old black marketer at Kumasi-Alabar, Rauf Yussif, a 55-year old trader at Akwatialine Timber Market, and Kwabena Nketiah, a 42 year old secondhand clothes and shoes seller at Atonsu.
The two suspects apprehended for dealing in the narcotic drugs are Adongo Azure, 30, and Ayine Charles Sunday, aged 26.
Briefing the media on the arrest, the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, said the police received a tip-off last week Thursday that some people were offering foreign made pistols for sale at the Alabar Market.
Upon receipt of the information, DCOP Timbillah said personnel from the CID and the Buffalo Unit were deployed to the area, and managed to arrest the three suspects in connection with the crime.
He said a search on them revealed three foreign-made pistols, and twelve rounds of ammunition, which were being offered for sale at GH¢600 per pistol.
DCOP Timbillah said the suspects admitted to committing the crime during interrogations, but one of them, Alhaji Azumah Zamramah, stated that one ‘Gawo-man’ was the source of the supply, but could not trace his whereabouts.
The Regional Police Boss continued that on the same day, the Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the police command received information that two young men were in a wooden kiosk at the Kumasi Race Course area dealing in narcotic drugs, and upon a swoop, the team arrested Adongo and Ayine who were in possession of some of the dried leaves.
A further search on them after the arrest revealed 254 wraps of the dried leaves, while two locally made pistols and a metal hammer were also retrieved from their hideouts.
DCOP Timbillah said the suspects would be arraigned before court to face various offences upon completion of investigations.
Meanwhile, an anti-crime programme, “Operation Drag Net,” which was launched by the Ashanti Regional Police Command at the beginning of the year to gather intelligence on the sale and use of illegal weapons and other forms of criminal activities, has achieved major success, statistics at the Command reveals.
The Command says the programme had assisted in the detection of major crimes, and the retrieval of weapons which were in the possession of unscrupulous elements during the year under review.
“Operation Drag Net” forms part of the “Preventive Police Strategy” launched in January this year by the Command, under DCOP Patrick Eden Timbillah, to address all related issues that contribute to criminality, or the commission of crime, including arms and ammunitions, use of narcotic drugs, and hideouts of criminals, amongst others.
Under the programme, personnel were tasked to gather intelligence which would assist in the seizure of illegal weapons used for committing crimes, arrest and prosecute people in possession of arms, clamp down on drug users, and the location and destruction of all criminal hideouts in the metropolis.
According to the police, the programme had achieved tremendous success within ten months of its commencement, culminating in the seizure of weapons which had fallen into the hands of the wrong people.
DCOP Patrick Timbillah noted at a media briefing that so far, the police had managed to recover 23 shotguns, 42 locally-manufactured pistols, 5 AK47 rifles seized from policemen on duty, or stolen from police stations, and eight foreign-made pistols.
Other weapons recovered through the Operation Drag Net include 56 packets of AA & BB cartridges, 23 single rounds of AK47 rifle ammunitions and 12 single rounds of G3 rifle ammunitions.
Additionally, 58 persons dealing in narcotic drugs had been arrested and were serving various sentences ranging from 10 up to 30 years after successfully prosecution, while 18 criminal hideouts had also been identified and destroyed in the Kumasi metropolis.
DCOP Timbillah pointed out that the Command purposely launched the programme, after establishing correlation between crime and the use of drugs in the country.
He said use of narcotic drugs have direct links with criminal activities, a phenomenon which he said, necessitates effective programme to flush out dealers and users of drugs in the country.
The Police Commander however attributed the success story of the police in the region to the “Police Reward System” which reward informants who provide the police with relevant information leading to the successful arrest and prosecution of criminals in the country.
DCOP Timbillah reiterated that the system was still in force and that the public would be rewarded with amounts ranging from 1,000 to 20000 Ghana cedis, depending on the significance of information given.
He therefore appealed to the general public to continue to volunteer information in order to help fight criminal activities in the country.