THE increase in the number of juveniles involved in drug trafficking is a source of major concern, says Ndola Magistrate Osward Chibalo.

Mr Chibalo said this when a 16-year-old boy of Pamodzi township in Ndola admitted to trafficking in marijuana weighing 502 grams and was given 12 months’ probation to undergo counselling by the Social Welfare Department.

The magistrate attributed the increase in such cases to failure by parents to take keen interest in their children’s activities.

Magistrate Chibalo said that abuse of drugs by juveniles usually resulted in many of them becoming mentally disturbed.

According to facts before court, on October 7  Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) assistant investigating officer Chrispin Mulenga, in company of other officers, received information from Pamodzi Overspill of boys smoking marijuana.

The officers proceeded to the site and the juvenile offender was found near the rail line.

The officers explained to him the purpose of their visit and a search was conducted on him and loose vegetable leaves where found on him in a clear plastic.

The young man admitted ownership of the marijuana after he was interrogated and was consequently detained at Ndola Central police.

The court, after considering mitigation from the juvenile and social welfare report, slapped him with 12 months’ probation to undergo counselling and guidance under the same office.