Chad army officers sentenced to prison for drug trafficking

N’DJAMENA (AFP) – Chadian army officers and intelligence officials were sentenced on Friday to up to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking, the state prosecutor and their lawyer told AFP.

In January, a vehicle carrying 246 cartons of the opiate painkiller Tramadol, with an estimated value of XAF12.3 billion (USD21 million), was seized on its way to neighbouring Libya, a judicial source said.

An army general, two colonels and a head of the National Security Agency were among 10 people sentenced in the capital N’Djamena.

“Of the 11 defendants, six were sentenced to 10 years in prison and four to five years in prison, and one was released,” prosecutor Youssouf Tom told AFP.

Those sentenced were also ordered to pay between USD25,000 and USD50,000, the prosecutor said.

“The judge followed the prosecutor’s demands to the letter and I immediately appealed,” Alain Kagonbe, one of the defendants’ lawyers, told AFP.

Chad’s 1,000-kilometre border with Libya is a lawless zone where criminal gangs, illegal gold miners and rebels operate, much of it beyond the control of the security forces.