Bulawayo drug bust: Over 1 500 arrested in crackdown

Over 1 500 individuals in Bulawayo were arrested by police between February 2023 and February 2024 for dealing in, selling, and distributing illegal drugs.

A significant portion, 1 267, were youths under 35 years old.

58 suspects from this number were said to be the suppliers of these illegal drugs.

This was revealed by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister, Chido Sanyatwe who said efforts by police to apprehend drug traffickers were yielding positive results. 

Sanyatwe said from February 2023 to February this year, police carried out several operations such as “Operation No to drugs and substance abuse.” 

In that operation, police “managed to arrest 1 460 accused persons. Saddening enough, of the aforesaid number, 1 267 are the youths under the age of 35 and also 58 were suppliers of these illicit drugs,” Sanyatwe said.

She added that the total value recovered if the drugs was ZWL$62 321 150.

These revelations were in response to questions from Bulawayo North Member of Parliament, Minenhle Gumede, on the measures in place to apprehend drug traffickers in the Bulawayo Central Business (CBD) District and on the effectiveness of penalties imposed, particularly for those found selling drugs to teenagers.

The deputy minister said the issue of illegal drugs has become a major hazard, not only to Bulawayo youth but is threatening the “future and national security.”

“Riding on the strength of collaborative efforts. All stakeholder approach is very key in managing drug and substance abuse cases. It is however saddening that while the youth are abusing these drugs which are being manufactured, trafficked and traded in our communities, it will be under everyone’s watch,” Sanyatwe said. “In my view, it is high time we put our heads together for the common good of our society. Surely, the cost of doing nothing about a problem far exceeds the cost of doing something. As such, let us be responsible citizens taking an urgent and collective stand and report drug peddlers, drug manufacturers and drug abusers to responsible authorities.”

The deputy minister said in an endeavour to cut the supply chain, the police deployed sniffer dogs at ports of entry to detect contraband as they get into the country from external sources.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to maximise on intelligence network. Intensifying awareness campaigns and educating members of the public on the dangers associated with drug abuse. Policing rides on societal cohesion,” Sanyatwe said.

“As Government, we continue to capacitate the police with the requisite tools of trade…my Ministry recently received a shot in the arm from the China, of anti-narcotics analysis equipment worth US$136 998.00 to be used in the Zimbabwe Republic Police Forensic Laboratories to enhance their operational efficacy in the war against drugs.”

The deputy minister stated  that such equipment makes a huge difference and helps the country “rebuild the social fabric that has been devastated by drugs.”

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