Illicit drug smugglers are using Manicaland Province as a conduit and destination for their contraband resulting in an upsurge in local consumption and peddling of narcotics.
Drugs commonly abused in local hotspots include cocaine, morphine, heroin, ecstasy, cannabis, broncleer (bronco), mandrax, hashish and crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as mutoriro, dombo or guka, reported The Manica Post.
Marijuana is grown locally but the illicit drug is also being smuggled from Mozambique and Malawi while Cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs are smuggled from South Africa, Latin America and Afghanistan.
Data from the Anti-Drug Abuse Forum (ADAF) and the police’s Drugs and Narcotics Unit has revealed that a high number of drug abusers are mostly males between the ages of 11 and 40 years.
The illicit drugs are distributed in the streets, bars, homes, schools and workplaces with women constituting the bulk of smugglers.
A drug peddler who spoke to The Manica Post on condition of anonymity said he gets supplies from Mbare and South Africa. He said:
I sell it for between US$15 and US$20 per gram, depending on the location, availability and the customer.
It is in high demand in surrounding illegal mining areas because of its ability to keep the illegal panners high and hyper-active for long hours. We get supplies from drug lords in Mbare and South Africa.
Detective Assistant Inspector Ndiudzei Mugawa from the Drugs and Narcotics Unit said:
We arrest an average of 30 peddlers monthly and only last week we arrested two women who had cocaine in Yeovil, Mutare.
Women are well travelled and constitute the bulk of smugglers in the province.
Manicaland is being used both as a conduit and a destination for smuggled illicit drugs.
Its proximity to the long porous border with Mozambique has resulted in smugglers using so many entry points to smuggle illicit drugs into the country.
Detective Assistant Inspector Mugawa added that it is difficult for the police to infiltrate drug cartels. He said:
Drug trafficking is controlled predominantly by well-connected people, most of whom are behind the heroin and cocaine entering the country.
With drugs, it is about possession and usage, and sometimes we fail to arrest the suspects due to conspiracy of silence.
Unlike other offences, drug abuse usually has no complainants and it is difficult to penetrate when you do not have a mole inside the cartel.