Ethiopian Police Arrests Foreigners Involved in Drug Smuggling, Printing Dollars

By Staff Reporter

Traffickers-EthiopiaNovember 17, 2019 ( -- The Addis Ababa Bole Airport Customs Office has seized 47.4 kg of cocaine which was on transit at the airport’s passengers’ terminal. Ethiopian police also apprehended eight foreigners red-handed while printing counterfeit US dollars in Addis Ababa.

The cocaine was seized in a joint operation by members of the Customs’ Intelligence and anti-contraband department and the Ethiopian National Information Intelligence Service.

Five Brazilians who were allegedly involved in smuggling the cocaine were apprehended. The customs office said the suspects had been smuggling the drug to different countries, packed in varying bag sizes.

The suspects, comprised of four female suspects and one male were arrested, each smuggling varying volumes of cocaine. The male suspect was carrying 21kg of cocaine.

All of the suspects who departed from Brazil International Airport had different destinations. Three of them were heading to Kigali, Rwanda. One was going to Johannesburg, South Africa, and one was going to Bangkok, Thailand.

The 47.4 kg cocaine seized has an estimated street worth of over 109 million Ethiopian Birr.

According to the Ethiopian custom's office, all the suspects have been flying Ethiopian airlines with flight number ET 507 which unusually arrived five hours late.

It is recalled that the Counter Narcotics Operations Unit of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission last September announced that more than 186 kilograms of cocaine, 9 kilograms of heroin, and 1104 kilograms of cannabis were seized over the past one year, mostly while being trafficked through Addis Ababa Bole International airport.

According to the commission, 80 suspects from 17 countries are being charged in Ethiopia.  Nigerians, Brazilians, Venezuelans, and South African traffickers constitute the majority of the detainees.

The Addis Ababa Police on Saturday November 16, 2019, apprehended eight foreigners red-handed while printing counterfeit US Dollar at Bole Sub-City in Addis Ababa.

The suspects were arrested in a joint operation conducted by the metropolitan police and the National Information and Intelligence Service (NISA), the Addis Ababa Police Commission

The suspects have been using different machines and chemicals to print the counterfeit currency notes in two rented houses in district 7, around the Meta factory, said the commission’s police officer Berihun Sileshi.

Seized in the operation was 512 finished counterfeit US dollars, 455,200 genuine Ethiopian Birr, and 1900 USD currency notes. The police also seized hundreds of thousands of counterfeit USD and Ethiopian Birr notes that were in production.  

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