West Africa's Alarming Growth Industry? Meth

When customs officers in the sleepy Senegalese town of Koumpentoum discovered a stash of pills hidden in a bus from Mali in late February, they initially thought it was counterfeit medicine. They stored the haul, poorly concealed in plastic bags and a jerry can, in the back of the customs office. Its owner escaped, slipping away into the sprawl of shacks and hawkers. Days later, according to two officials, a top officer from regional headquarters took a closer look at the trove and identified it as the drug methamphetamine. The seizure was one of three in Senegal so far this year. It highlights the new and fast-growing role West Africa is playing in the global drug trade, not just as a transit point for drugs but also as a producer of amphetamine-type stimulants.



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