A customer officer, Valy Traoré "Ali le douanier" and miss Claire Dogbo, a high flying female "stylist, may just be the low-level fall guys in what is now called the "cocaine gate", since the story broke last year with mind-blowing accounts of Medellin, Columbia style drug dealings in West Africa.
Ali, a customs officer moonlighting as a drug dealer was recently apprehended by the gendarmerie and presented as the mastermind of a vast drug trafficking network dismantled in Abidjan.
He is certainly an important link in the Abidjan cartel, but his story may be the tip of the iceberg.
Ali spilt the beans hours after his arrest. The kingpin is on the run.
In a statement, the national gendarmerie’s narcotics unit "Unité anti-drug" of Abidjan Port authority arrested two individuals on 24 February 2021, at around 22:30 in the Zone 4 area of Marcory, south of Abidjan.
They were Valy Traoré, known as "Ali le le douanier" and one of his alleged accomplices, miss Claire Dogbo, respectively from Angré and deux-Plateaux, in Cocody.
According to the same press release, Ali spilt the beans hours after his arrest by the anti-drug squad, supported by elements of the National Gendarmerie Intervention Unit (UIGN) and the Port Security Group (GSP). Searches conducted in one of his residences and a home belonging to the presumed kingpin, an Ivorian man whose name is yet to be released by investigators, revealed a large sum of cash and several incriminating documents, which led them to the largest quantity of cocaine ever seized in Côte d'Ivoire.
48 bags containing 22 blocks of cocaine each, for a total of 1056 blocks of cocaine, weighing 1 ton 56 kg, for an estimated value of 25 billion 560 million FCFA.
A street-level suspect is currently on the run.
Investigators believe that they are close to dismantling the West African country's underworld cartel, as they vow to bring to justice all the individuals involved after seizing 7 tons of cannabis days later.
Claude B Djaquis