A secret gathering police in the Upper East region believe was a crowd of Indian hemp smokers turned into a ‘prayer camp’ when police detectives, acting on a tipoff, appeared from nowhere to take them into custody.
The plainclothes law enforcers counted as many as 30 motorbikes parked at the secret location by the suspected smokers when they swooped on the rocky zone at Tindomolgo, a community in the regional capital, Bolgatanga.
The suspects were all inside a structure surrounded by rocks painted with pictures of reggae legend, Bob Marley, at the time the lawmen arrived at a moment’s notice. When approached and asked what the gathering was about, the alleged smokers told the police they had gathered inside the structure to pray for peace and harmony to continue to prevail in the municipality.
Their answer did not wash with the police as an obvious fright in their wide-open eyes and the discomfort signals shown in their body language were at variance with their purported prayer points— peace and harmony.
Pretending to be convinced, one of the investigators ‘lauded’ the ‘fellowship’ strongly and craftily asked he be allowed to join the ‘prayer session’ to request spiritual deliverance on behalf of a friend who needed liberation badly from an ancestral spell and a household demon.
As the officer was being led clumsily by confused-looking ushers towards the U-shape structure for him to tender his prayer request, a well-known weed wholesaler in the capital, Rashid Amalga, called Rashid Tanzania as his nickname, rode a motorbike into the secret zone. He was carrying a multicolour traveller bag and a white sack on the bike, both containing some stuffs suspected to be marijuana to be sold to the pretended worshippers.
“He didn’t know some strange faces were around until he rode the motorbike in,” said one of the detectives in an interaction with Starr News after the raid. “The moment he saw us, the look on his face changed questionably.”
When approached for answers regarding the things in the bag and the sack, Rashid told the officers they were his goods. An immediate search of the bag and the sack revealed he was carrying the prohibited substance in large quantities.
To avoid any outburst of temper and a possible attack from the crowd waiting impatiently inside the building for the marijuana merchant, the far-outnumbered plainclothesmen mounted the suspect on a police-operation motorbike quickly and took him away at the speed of light with the contraband goods before anybody could know it. Contemplating a hot chase by the disappointed crowd left behind, the officers used unpredictable routes to the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Station.
Police Affirm Protection of Informants’ Identities
More stuffs were found as police emptied the bag and the sack after the detective team arrived at the police station.
The bag contained 110 wraps of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp and three polythene bags containing dried leaves believed to be the same substance. Inside the sack were dried leaves thought to be cannabis, three pairs of scissors, three boxes of matches, one packet of London Brown Cigarette, one packet of London White Cigarette, one Sonitec radio set and a cash of Gh¢177.40 said to be earnings the suspect had made from sale of weed before his arrest.
Police say the suspect, when interrogated further, admitted trading in Indian hemp. Speaking in a Starr News interview, the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief/Supt. Samuel Tibil Punobyin, underlined the need for the public to step up their collaboration with the police in the war against crime in the municipality and beyond.
“Police work on intelligence and the use of informants is very critical. Once again, we want to entreat them to volunteer information and we will never, never give them (the informants) out. Their identity would be well protected.
“I know information is not free. We would also do whatever it takes to motivate them (the whistleblowers). The public should also take their personal security seriously. Crime fighting is a shared responsibility. At the end of the day, we live with the criminals and you wouldn’t even know the one you are sharing your secrets with. The police are always there for you,” said Chief/Supt. Punobyin who has been very tough on criminals in the capital.
The suspect was being led to the District Magistrate Court in Bolgatanga as of the time this news report was being filed. It is certain the accused person will stay in custody for some time. But it is not certain that the suspected weed smokers, after the police raid, will gather at the secret location again to ‘pray’ for the peace and harmony of the municipality.