Posted on 24 Jul 2015
By David Lewis
West Africa has long been a transit point for drug traffickers. Now it has its own methamphetamine industry, and meth money is going into politics.
When customs officers in the sleepy Senegalese town of Koumpentoum discovered a stash of pills hidden in a bus from Mali in late February, they initially thought it was counterfeit medicine.
They stored the haul, poorly concealed in blue plastic bags and a yellow jerry can, in the back of the customs office. Its owner escaped, slipping away into the sprawl of shacks and hawkers.
Days later, according to two officials involved in the seizure, a top officer from regional headquarters took a closer look at the trove and identified it as the drug methamphetamine. The 81 kg (179 pounds) stash was worth an estimated $12 million or more based on the street price for the drug in Tokyo, where much of it ends up.
Download this special report by Thomson Reuters below.