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Four Men Absolved of Drug Trafficking in Liberia Disappear

Liberian authorities have admitted that they had lost track of four men recently tried and exonerated after the seizure of 100 million USD worth of cocaine, a judgment that shocked even the Minister of Justice. A criminal court in Monrovia caused a stir on May 18 by finding not guilty a Liberian, a Bissau-Guinean, a Portuguese and a Lebanese man arrested in connection with the seizure, in October 2022, of 520 kilos of cocaine with an estimated value to 100 million dollars, concealed according to the authorities in a container from Brazil. The result of cooperation with the United States and Brazil, it is one of the most important catches ever made in the country. The judgment by a popular jury was all the more surprising as the court ordered the return to the suspects of $200,000 seized during the operation. The case highlights the place of the West African coasts on the drug trafficking routes from South America, to Europe in particular. The judgment raised questions about the functioning of justice and its exposure to corruption.