Two British girls arrested for smuggling in Ghana

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Two 16-year-old British girls were arrested in Accra, Ghana earlier this month for apparently attempting to smuggle £300,000 worth of cocaine in laptop bags.

Yasemin Vatansever, of Cypriot descent and Yatunde Diya of Nigerian descent were arrested as they attempted to board a British Airways flight from the Kotoka International Airport on July 2, 2007. The arrest was by the Ghanaian Narcotic Control Board. They were alleged to be carrying 6.5 kg of drugs. They are currently in Ghana police custody and have been visited by British High Commission staff.

The girls who are both students from Islington, north London, had left home after informing their families they were making a school trip to France. They are expected to be charged with "possessing narcotic drugs and attempting to export drugs", for which they could be jailed for up to ten years if found guilty.

The arrest is part of the Operation Westbridge project set up in November 2006 as a collaboration between the Ghanaian Narcotic Control Board and HM Revenue and Customs of the UK. It is to curb the influx of drugs into Europe and the UK through West Africa which is now being used as a transit point from South America. The project involves the provision of technical and operational expertise to the Ghanaian teams and training in the use of specialist scanning equipment. Ghana is the first country in Africa to introduce such equipment.

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