KAMPALA- Uganda Police Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of United States have dismantled a laboratory used to manufacture illicit drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine in Nakawuka in Entebbe Wakiso District.
The destruction of the laboratory followed the arrest in Kenya of Mr Ismail Balinda, the vice president of Uganda Motor-Cross Association.
Mr Balinda is said to have been running the laboratory in Uganda on behalf of some Mexican and Nigerian drug barons.
Mr Vicent Ssekatte, the spokesman for Uganda police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations, said they were informed by Kenyan authorities about Mr Balinda’s suspected illicit trade and carried out a search in his poultry factory where they found ingredients used for producing narcotic drugs.
“The ingredients found will be used in the prosecution of Balinda in the US. We have been informed that Mr Balinda and two Nigerians have also been handed over to the US authorities for trial,” Mr Ssekatte said.
This is the first time a laboratory manufacturing illicit drugs has been discovered in the country, according to police. Before, Uganda was classified by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a transit point for narcotic drugs to Asia, Europe and the US.
Drug traffickers prefer to use African airports to traffick illicit drugs because the countries have less developed systems that can detect illicit drug.
Mr Ssekate said the discovery of the laboratory is an eye-opener to the anti-narcotics department.
“There could be other laboratories in the country. Our anti-narcotics department is working on a holistic approach to track, find and dismantle any such laboratory,” Mr Ssekate said.
Drug trafficking cases, especially at Entebbe International Airport, were on the rise until late last year when the government started implementing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 2015, which imposes harsher penalties on offenders.