Cocaine smuggling scandal unfolds at Kotoka Airport


The Herald, has landed a cocaine-related crime, which has come to light at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), leading to the interdiction of several officers of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), including a senior officer identified as Eric Nartey Yeboah, also known as “Chairman Dollar.”

The scandal emerged, following the arrest of a significant quantity of illegal drugs at Brussels Airport in Belgium, with reports indicating that the cocaine was smuggled through KIA aboard the Moroccan national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, facilitated by a GACL staff member on March 23, 2024.

Proeger Delgey Bianca, a female, who is Dutch national, was apprehended at Brussels Airport with eight and a half (8.5) kilograms of suspected cocaine, allegedly transported through KIA on the mentioned date.

The Narcotic Control Commission (NACOC), according to The Herald sources, has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the drug smuggling and subsequent arrest.

It has been reported that, the Belgian authorities reached out to their Ghanaian counterparts following the arrest of Proeger Delgey Bianca, seeking clarification on the matter.

Eric Nartey Yeboah, who was recently appointed as Cargo Security Manager along with Daniel Abugri in March, is implicated in the scandal.

Yeboah, known as “Chairman Dollar,” was reportedly present at KIA during the time of the drug movement.

His suspicious behaviour, including loitering around the airport at 3 am on the day the drugs were believed to have departed Accra for Brussels, drew attention.

As part of the investigation, NACOC, has requested the release of Aviation Security Personnel who were on duty or present at the Central Screening area on the day preceding the interception of Bianca and her cocaine luggage.

In response to the security breaches and criminal implications of the incident, the GACL Board has approved the management’s decision to conduct a thorough investigation.

A committee has been established within the management of KIA to probe into the matter and submit a report by the end of April.

“Chairman Dollar” is said to have previously served in the General Aviation department of GACL, overseeing private jets.

Reports suggest that he faced disciplinary action during his time at Wisconsin International University College, Ghana, allegedly for misconduct related to the alteration of academic results to contest for a Student Representative Council (SRC) position. He was dismissed from the school.

Yeboah is known as a prominent figure within the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Madina Abokobi Constituency and holds the position of 2nd Vice Chairman at the Greater Accra Regional level. He was also a former chairman of the NPP for the Madina-La-Nkwantaman Constituency.

The unfolding scandal, underscores the gravity of security breaches at KIA and raises concerns about the integrity of airport personnel and operations.

Sometime in January this year, a report emerged that, a GLF3 Gulfstream aircraft registered as ‘N337LR’, one of the two aircraft suspiciously sitting at the Airforce Base in Accra, had been traced to Saint Vincent de Grenadine, where authorities have reported the plane missing since December 22, 2023.

Interestingly, “Chairman Dollar” was in charge of the private jet unit when this incident happened.

The media in the Caribbean holiday Island of Saint Vincent De Granadian, had been awashed with the shocking news about the American-registered private jet’s vanishing from the aeronautical radar, seven minutes after take-off from Canouan Airport without traces.

The online publication, Whatsup News, reported in a developing story, the mystery surrounding the landing of two aircraft with tail numbers: N52700 and N337LR at Kotoka International Airport a fortnight ago, without appropriate landing permits.

According to unofficial sources within NACOBOD and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States, the aircraft were purportedly found with traces of substances suspected to be cocaine.

According to preliminary investigations, the aircraft, believed to have come from Guinea Bissau, a long-established distribution centre for international illicit drug networks, initially requested parking at the Airforce base under the pretext of servicing, only after landing without recourse to aviation protocols.

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

It said that, authorities at the National Security Secretariat, have remained mute on the development so far, probably wishing the matter to pass without any scrutiny.

The publication said that as far back as December 24, last year, authorities in St Vincent reported that aircraft N337LR, had gone missing, adding incidentally, the next time this particular aircraft was spotted on the aeronautical radar was on January 22, 2024, a few days before it landed in Ghana.

The ‘St Vincent Times’, a popular news portal in the South American Island, on December 25, reported the development as follows:

“The aircraft departed from Canouan on Friday 22nd December 2023 at 2:27 p.m. for a sightseeing expedition. However, just 7 minutes into the flight, it disappeared from radar.”

According to reliable sources, the N337LR aircraft was found to have a flight crew consisting of two individuals and one passenger. Prior information indicated the presence of three passengers and one pilot.

Although, the St Vincent Times was unable to disclose specific identities, it confirmed that at least two individuals aboard were of Mexican nationality.

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.

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.

On January 22, 2023, the N337LR was sighted conducting a flight or reactor test, which it aborted departing from Manzanillo (at Maya De Oro International Airport in Mexico).  A potential suicidal candidate?

Additionally, Whatsup News, can verify that N337LR is presently available for purchase on AVBUYER. The missing plane appeared to have changed hands several times. Flightaware data reveals that there are a total of 5 historical and sales records available for N337LR”




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