Cocaine smuggling scandal emerges at Kotoka Airport

By Majesty 10 Min Read

A cocaine-related crime was discovered at Kotoka International Airport (KIA), according to The Herald. As a result, multiple officers of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), including a senior officer known as Eric Nartey Yeboah, popularly known as “Chairman Dollar,” were placed under interdiction.

The incident began when a large amount of illegal substances were apprehended at Brussels Airport in Belgium. Reports state that on March 23, 2024, a GACL employee assisted in the smuggling of cocaine through KIA onboard Royal Air Maroc, the national airline of Morocco.

 Proeger Delgey Bianca, a Dutch native, was detained at Brussels Airport on the specified date with eight and a half (8.5) kilogrammes of suspected cocaine that had reportedly been trafficked through KIA.

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The Herald has information that state that the Narcotic Control Commission (NACOC) has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the drug smuggling and subsequent arrest.

Following Proeger Delgey Bianca’s arrest, it has been claimed that the Belgian authorities contacted their Ghanaian counterparts to inquire about the situation.

 Involved in the controversy is Eric Nartey Yeboah, who was appointed as Cargo Security Manager in March with Daniel Abugri. 

Yeboah, also referred to as “Chairman Dollar,” was purportedly present at KIA when the narcotics trafficking was underway.

 His suspicious actions, which included waiting outside the airport at three in the morning on the day the drugs were thought to have left Accra for Brussels, attracted notice.

NACOC has asked that Aviation Security Personnel who were on duty or in the Central Screening area the day before Bianca and her cocaine-filled bags were intercepted be released as part of the investigation.

The decision of the management to carry out an extensive investigation in response to the security breaches and criminal consequences of the occurrence has been approved by the GACL Board.

Within KIA’s administration, a committee has been formed to look into the situation and provide a report by the end of April.

“Chairman Dollar” allegedly oversaw private aircraft while working at GACL’s General Aviation division.

It has been reported that he was subject to disciplinary action while attending Wisconsin International University College in Ghana. The alleged wrongdoing involved manipulating his academic records in order to stand for election to the Student Representative Council (SRC). He had his school record revoked.

Yeboah is a well-known member of the Madina Abokobi Constituency branch of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), and he now serves as the regional NPC’s second vice chairman. Additionally, he served as the Madina-La-Nkwantaman Constituency Chairman for the NPP in the past.

The developing issue casts doubt on the honesty of airport staff and operations while highlighting the seriousness of security lapses at KIA.

A report surfaced in January of this year stating that one of the two aircraft suspiciously parked at the Air Force Base in Accra, a GLF3 Gulfstream registered as “N337LR,” had been located to Saint Vincent de Grenadine, where the plane has been reported missing by the authorities since December 22, 2023.

It’s interesting to note that “Chairman Dollar” was in control of the private jet division at the time of the event.

The startling news that the private aircraft registered in the United States had vanished from the radar seven minutes after it took off from Canouan Airport had shaken the media on the Caribbean vacation island of Saint Vincent De Granadian.

The mystery surrounding the unapproved arrival of two aeroplanes, N52700 and N337LR, at Kotoka International Airport two weeks ago was covered by the web newspaper Whatsup News in a tale that is still evolving.

Unofficial sources within the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and NACOBOD claim that traces of drugs thought to be cocaine were discovered on the aeroplane.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the aircraft, which is thought to have originated from Guinea Bissau, a well-known hub for international illicit drug networks, first asked to be parked at the Air Force base under the guise of maintenance. However, it was only after landing that the aircraft followed no aviation protocol.

Whatsup News claimed to be aware that, despite having prior knowledge that one of the aircraft has been reported missing, officials of the National Security apparatus had arrested crew members of the aircraft and questioned airport officials, including some individuals in Ghana, but had since released them to disappear into thin air.

According to the report, National Security Secretariat officials have not commented on the development thus far, perhaps hoping it would go unchecked.

According to the report, aeroplane N337LR was reported missing by St Vincent authorities as early as December 24, 2022. It also stated that the aircraft was last seen on the aeronautical radar a few days before to its landing on January 22, 2024.

On December 25, the well-known news website on the South American island, “St Vincent Times,” reported the following development:

On Friday, December 22, 2023, at 2:27 p.m., the aircraft left Canouan for a sightseeing excursion. But after only seven minutes of flight, it vanished from the radar.

Two people and one passenger made up the flight crew of the N337LR aircraft, according to credible reports. Three passengers and one pilot were listed on earlier information.

The St. Vincent Times verified that at least two of the passengers were Mexican nationals, even if it was unable to reveal their precise identities.

The St Vincent Times had learned that the authorities were aware of the identity of the flight crew and the sole passenger, contrary to previous claims. According to our sources, a preliminary investigation suggested that N337LR did not vanish by chance.

Inquiries made by the St Vincent Times indicated that N337LR was not detected by radar in neighbouring islands, prompting fears that the transponder of the gulf-stream jet that was missing would have been deactivated while it was in flight.

A transponder is an avionic device that integrates the capability to send data and provide responses to requests from Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar stations. However, in contrast to larger aircraft, the N337LR lacks ACARS, resulting in the loss of its position to air traffic control (ATC) when its transponder is not turned on.

ACARS, also known as the Aircraft Communications, Addressing, and Reporting System, facilitates the exchange of automated messages between the aircraft and other entities such as the airline company and manufacturer.

Prior sources stated that N337LR proceeded on a sightseeing expedition from Canouan, with the specific route being undisclosed at that time. The publication confirmed that the intended flight path would have traversed the northern region of Canouan.

An aviation expert informed the St Vincent Times a day after the incident that the missing Gulfstream would take 6 minutes to travel from CIW to the mainland; the N337LR had fuel for over 4 hours.

So now the question is, where was the aircraft heading?

According to another reliable source, the flight plan was deemed illogical. This is because an aircraft of that particular model would not require a four-hour fuel supply for sightseeing purposes, as indicated in the flight plan. According to the source, it is believed that N337LR landed on a private airstrip in South America, potentially in Venezuela, as it is located just one hour away from the Grenadines.

According to information gathered by the St Vincent Times, the DEA has been monitoring N337LR for a considerable period of time.

According to the annual reports of the DEA, Gulf-stream aircraft are included in an increasing quantity of ‘narco planes’ employed for the illicit transportation of cocaine from South America. According to the report, these aircraft have the capacity to transport 14 or more passengers across a distance of around 4,000 miles, which makes them well-suited for smuggling purposes. Additionally, they can be operated from relatively basic and clandestine airstrips.

A flight or reactor test was observed on January 22, 2023, when the N337LR was spotted leaving from Manzanillo (at the Maya De Oro International Airport in Mexico). The flight was aborted.  A possible suicidal suspect?

Furthermore, N337LR is currently available for purchase on AVBUYER, as confirmed by Whatsup News. It seems that the missing jet had changed hands multiple times. According to Flightaware data, N337LR has a total of 5 historical and sales records available. 

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