New York prosecutors have charged the head of Guinea Bissau’s armed forces with conspiring to traffic drugs and provide weapons for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), following a DEA sting operation.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antonio Indjai and his co-conspirators began meeting with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informants posing as members of the FARC in June 2012. He allegedly agreed to store and ship FARC cocaine and to purchase weapons, including surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), for the rebels.
Unlike several of Indjai’s co-conspirators, who were arrested by U.S. authorities in international waters on April 2, Indjai remains at large in Guinea Bissau, reported Reuters. According to the AFP, Indjai is now the eighth Guinean charged by New York prosecutors.
InSight Crime Analysis
From the information now available, it appears Indjai and his co-conspirators did not make contact with genuine FARC operatives. Although this does not rule out a FARC presence in West Africa, it casts doubt on the widely publicized claims the FARC was using such connections to buy surface to air missiles and instead it appears it was the DEA posing as the FARC who requested the advanced weaponry.
The charges against Indjai, who led a military coup in April 2012 that overthrew the civilian government, show that drug-related corruption in Guinea Bissau has permeated the highest levels of government. Local human rights activists say that drug trafficking in Guinea Bissau has significantly increased in the wake of the coup, and the DEA characterized Indjai’s rule a “sprawling drug and terror regime.”