How UNMIL Staff Was Booked With Marijuana

A national staff of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Siryon Gerbah has been arrested and charged along with two others in possession of 173 kilograms of marijuana valued at L$1.5 million on the street.   Suspect Gerbah, 36, was charged with Criminal Facilitation while suspects Maxwell D. Julius, 26 and Miata Stephen, 19, were charged with Unlawful Possession, Distribution and Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs in accordance with Section 41.23 of the Public Health Law of the Republic of Liberia.

The substance was discovered by a joint security at the Sinje Checkpoint in Grand Cape Mount County while performing their daily routine check on vehicles that ply that highway. According to the report, suspect Gerbah was the driver of a vehicle with license plate marked UNMIL-132 which was enroute to Monrovia from Tienne.

Suspect Gerbah told the investigators that he was under no obligation to have picked up passengers in his assigned UNMIL vehicle but having been convinced by his passengers that their vehicle had a mechanical fault and needed him to assist them to get to Monrovia, he gave no keen consideration to his official mandate.

He also said while the substance was being loaded in his assigned UNMIL vehicle, he was not careful in ascertaining what were in the bags being loaded in the car and that he had no idea that Julius and Ms. Stephen were transporting such huge quantity of narcotic substance when he voluntarily stopped for them.

The investigators realized that suspects Julius and Ms. Stephen were part of drug cartel in trafficking drugs between Sierra Leone and Liberia but they had refused to disclose the names of their foreign partners despite all methods used to elicit information from them.

Meanwhile in a position statement issued yesterday, UNMIL’s Public Information Officer, Seble Worku, said, “UNMIL cannot confirm that a national staff member was arrested by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County on suspicion of possessing an illegal narcotic.”

Madam Worku added that UNMIL was cooperating with the LNP as they conduct a full and thorough investigation because the due process of law must be followed.

She used the medium to send a message to all UNMIL staff that they are expected to respect the rule of law in Liberia and that the Mission will not hesitate to take appropriate actions against lawbreakers once the LNP concludes its investigation, C. Winnie Saywah writes.