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Police officers working under the supervision of an international law enforcement authority in Africa have hit the jackpot with their latest border security operation.

They’ve freed up to 100 potential human trafficking victims, including 35 children, confiscated a stash of solid gold bars being moved across international boundaries and prevented the distribution of thousands of pounds of illegal pharmaceuticals.

The report on the recent operation on the border of Cote d’Ivoire comes from INTERPOL.

Officials were testing a new prototype of tablet computer that links to the international police organization’s computer files.

That’s because international criminals and terrorists often travel with stolen or falsified identity documents, and documents that have been reported stolen, for example, are listed in a database.

The group reported the seven-day investigation, called Operation Adwenpa IV, deployed 200 officers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

“Many of the minors, aged between 12 and 17, were identified at the land border between Benin and Niger. In Ghana, authorities identified more than 50 potential victims traveling to the Middle East for employment,” police reported.

The technology checking travelers’ documents against a database of stolen names was used at 23 airports and land border hubs.

Of the 270,000 times identity papers were examined, there were 13 “hits,” or search results, indicating stolen or lost travel documents were being used.

Or they revealed the individuals holding them were being sought for fraud, counterfeit pharmaceuticals or cocaine trafficking, authorities reported.

The investigation, officials said, was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Among the results:

  • At the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone, a Guinean national traveling without official identification was caught with six bars of solid gold worth $120,000.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, smugglers attempted to bring in a total of 12,000 kg of counterfeit pharmaceutical products from Ghana. The seizures are estimated to have a market value of 900,000 euros, or $998,000.
  • Illicit drugs including cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines were also seized throughout the region.”Authorities in Guinea arrested a passenger arriving from Paris via Casablanca with 327,025 euros, about $363,000, in cash hidden in his luggage.
  • Various stashes of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines also were found.


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