Raymond Kwame Amankwah, a Ghanaian described as one of the most wanted drug barons,Mandy Veit, Irena Beata Ciaslak have been arrested in Brazil
Raymond Kwame Amankwah, a Ghanaian described as one of the most wanted drug barons, has been arrested in Brazil through collaboration between the German Federal Police and its Brazilian counterpart. He was arrested alongside two women, Mandy Veit, a German, and Irena Beata Ciaslak, a German-Polish, at the Pinto Martins Airport in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceara State in December 2007. The three were said to be working for a Nigerian group in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Amankwah was waiting for the two women, Mandy and Irena, who were due to fly to Lisbon, Portugal, each of them carrying 3.08 kilogrammes and 3.097 kilogrammes of cocaine, respectively. The Daily Graphic, in its August 13, 1996 edition, published a story in which the then Narcotics Unit of the Ghana Police Service had Amankwah, also known as Chanda Keita, wanted. The Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom was said to have issued a bench warrant for his arrest in 1995 for being the brain behind a crack cocaine network whose bust led to the discovery of 5.5 kilogrammes of cocaine valued at £l million. It was also indicated that prior to that, INTERPOL had also issued a warrant for Amankwah’s arrest in 1990 on behalf of the judicial authorities in France for violating that country’s legislation on drugs acquisition, possession and importation.The police said Raymond possessed two passports - a Ghanaian passport issued on July 19, 1988 and bearing the name Kwame Amankwah, while the other, an Ivorian passport, bore the name Kouame Amangouah and issued in Abidjan on November 15, 1985.The Daily Graphic, in April 1995, reported that the British Police had seized £1 million worth of cocaine and that a Ghanaian ringleader had been declared wanted. It said three accomplices - Mariame Keita, said to be Amankwah's wife, Andre N'Guessan, a drug distributor, and Charles Oppong, said to be Amankwah's lieutenant - had since been tried and were serving prison terms ranging from five to 20 years. Confirming the arrest in a correspondence to the Daily Graphic, a Director of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Ms Madeleine Lacsko, said the three suspects were arrested after security personnel searched Mandy's and Irena's luggage at the airport while the two were waiting to fly to Lisbon at 7:30 p.m. and found the drugs hidden in false compartments. It said Raymond, holder of Ghanaian passport number H1878450, was in custody at the House of Deprivation Provisional Freedom of Caucaia, while Mandy, holder of German passport number A0883780, and Irena, bearer of German passport number 176705648, were being kept at female prisons at Presidio Desa, Auri Moura Costa. It said the three were found to be part of an international drug trafficking network, a Nigerian drug mafia in Sao Paulo, Brazil.The correspondence said Amankwah had been in Brazil from January to November 2007, without leaving the country, and returned to Ghana in November 2007 for the marriage of his daughter. It said investigations revealed that while in Brazil, Amankwah was receiving income from his business in Ghana, including some bank transfers and deposits on his international card.
It said he was staying at a hotel where he was paying between $500 and $800 monthly.
It said the Brazilian police had information that Amankwah had come to Brazil raise a drug trafficking gang to supply drugs to Europe. The correspondence said it was established that Amankwah's experience was highly needed by the mafia because the cost of a kilogramme of pure cocaine in Europe was 40,000 euros, while the price in Fortaleza, Brazil was only $12,000. It said Amankwah was apprehended with the help of seven security men, after he had resisted arrest. It said Amankwah had met Mandy and Irena on November 28, 2007 and handed the bags containing the drugs to the two ladies.It said although Mandy and Irena denied knowledge of the contents of the luggage, the police argued that they could not be innocent, having accepted fully paid international trips with monetary rewards just for the delivery of the bags. The correspondence said Amankwah later allegedly confessed that they all knew what they were doing and acknowledged taking the drug from Ken Chukwuma, popularly known as Don, between the Paulista and Blanca avenues in Sao Paulo to hand it over to the ladies. It said the investigations traced the international trafficking operations of the gang from neighbouring Benin where Mandy had been invited by a German, Thomas Kamp, for holidays and later given a bag containing drugs to be delivered in France for a fee of 4,500 euros, adding that Irena was also part of the trip to Benin and benefited from a similar inducement. It said Kamp again met Mandy in Brazil and offered her 5,000 euros to deliver a bag containing drugs in London. It explained that Kamp later left for London but Irena later joined Mandy in Brazil for the same purpose.
The correspondence said it was established that Amankwah was the contact person in Sao Paulo from whom the two ladies were to pick the bags containing the drugs.
According to it, the German police had been trailing Mandy for some time, although Irena had not come to security notice in Germany yet.
It, however, said Irena's brother had been jailed in Peru for drug trafficking.
It said a Federal Judge, Dr Danilo Sampaio Fontenelle, sitting at 11th Vara, me Carlos, on March 24, 2008, for a pre-trial, declined bail for the suspects because of the seriousness of the case and the international dimension of the crime.
The judge, it said, also explained that the suspects were experienced international drug dealers who posed a serious danger to society if they were granted bail because they had no permanent address and no profession and, therefore, it was better that they were kept in jail.
It said Dr Edmac Trigueiro Lima is leading the prosecution, while Amankwah was being represented by two lawyers, Dr Paul Napoleao Quezado and Dr John Marcelo De Lima Perdrosa.