Dar confectionery, sauce maker found lacing bhang in cookies

THE Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) have impounded a confectionery in Kawe area in Dar es Salaam and a tomato sauce maker for mixing components of cannabis in cookies and tomato sauces.

DCEA Commissioner General, Aretas Lyimo told reporters in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that the two establishments were found to be mixing a highly poisonous type of cannabis called ‘tetrahydrocannabinol’ (THC), locally known as ‘Skanka’ in confectionaries, sweets, bread jam, and tomato sauce.

“We have established this during our recent operation during which we identified one biscuit factory at Kawe area in Dar es Salaam mixing biscuits with Skanka,” Commissioner Lyimo stated confirming fears of presence of narcotic laced confectioneries, tomato sauce and juice in the market.

He said that during the operation they arrested 16 suspects, six out of them have already been sent to court and the procedures to send to court the remaining 10 were ongoing.

“The aim of doing this is to sell more the drugs hey want simplify selling of such narcotics secretly and to increase the number of drug users in the country, considering that such kind of food stuff are kids’ favourite,” Mr Lyimo said.

THC is a major psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and the component of cannabis associated with psychotic illness.

He said such kind of marijuana has poisonous content of about 45 per cent while the normal cannabis contains between 3-10 per cent.

With this high content of poisonous chemical, he added, it can cause madness or make the users unable to think properly.

“It’s not grown in Tanzania after the authority successfully destroyed number of cannabis farms in various regions, it is rather imported. So, we are currently strengthening control to ensure it is not smuggled through our borders as well as ensuring that it is not available in the streets. This goes in line with educating the public,” he assured.

The authority, therefore, cautioned school children to be wary over foods they consume since they would fall into a trap of drug addiction.

He further mentioned ‘Shisha’ as another product that the dealers tend to mix with the THC to create addiction to the users.

Elaborating on the recent operation, he said, the authority impounded 423.54kg of THC (Skanka), mainly at borders and beaches of the Indian Ocean.

Out of the total, 158.5kg were seized in Kigamboni District and Kawe area. The cargos were stored in bags ready for being transported.

The remaining 265kg was impounded at different occasions in the Southern Highlands Regions where they were packed in boxes together with apples destined for Dar es Salaam.

He said DCEA would continue with countrywide operation against smugglers and producers of illicit drugs in various places in order to ensure that narcotics are completely controlled.

Commissioner Lyimo urged the citizens to continue according cooperation to the authority about the criminals of illegal drugs.

In the Parliament in last May, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Policy, Coordination and Parliament, Ms Jenista Mhagama also sounded the same warning in Dodoma.

She said in 2020-2021 the authorities seized processed cocaine in the form of jam, cakes, biscuits and honey, where the culprits were sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Moreover, the minister said, they also descended on another firm producing drinks purported to be juice, only to use some ingredients of illicit drugs.

She said the dealers have a new way to influence people and in turn become addicted.

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