30bn worth of cocaine intercepted at Lagos airport – NDLEA
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) made huge seizures of drugs last week.
Cocaine and heroin packages with street value of N30 billion were discovered at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos.
One of the seizures, 26.840 kilograms of cocaine, is the biggest from an individual in the past 15 years.
A top NDLEA official gave the details to the press at the weekend.
The brief disclosed that on January 27 at about 1:20pm during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airlines passengers, a female passenger, Onyejegbu Ifesinachi Jennifer, 33, from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, was intercepted.
She was taken to the NDLEA office at the airport where her bags were searched. Whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet contained in two travel bags. Test conducted proved positive to cocaine and weighed 26.850kilograms.
“The suspect, a hair stylist based in Brazil, confessed to have agreed to smuggle the hard drug for N2,000,000. Although she refused to disclose the names of her associates, she mentioned that she was asked to hand over the drugs to another person. The street value of this singular seizure is put at over N21billion.”
Two days earlier, a red left-over luggage was declared to the NDLEA operatives at the E- arrival hall after the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines.
The agency said based on information on the tag, the luggage arrived Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil, a destination classified as high-risk country going by records and trends of arrest and seizures.
The bag was transferred to the NDLEA ‘Legal Seat’, the administrative office at the passenger terminal of the MMIA.
The Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba, afterwards received an intelligence report of a purported plan to clear a consignment containing hard drugs.
“The details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the Lagos airport. In a coordinated operation, on January 27, 2021, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu. The agent lured Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport where he was arrested”, the brief read.
Aliyu revealed that another person was on his way to receive the bag based on the instruction of his sender, one Ikechukwu Eze. Soon after one Emmanuel Iyke Aniebonam, who was to receive the bag, was arrested at NAHCO.
Emmanuel confessed that he was instructed by Ikechukwu to receive the consignment. Emmanuel was set up to lure in Eze. He didn’t show up but sent another person.
The individual confirmed Emmanuel mandated him to receive the consignment and that they agreed to meet at Ibis Royal Hotel in Ikeja.
NDLEA said a follow-up operation was organised and at the hotel, one Onwurah Kelvin was arrested. The suspect confessed he was sent by Eze to receive the consignment.
“The detained bag was opened in the presence of all the three suspects. Whitish powdery substances were discovered neatly concealed and sewn inside five children duvets. Field test was carried out on the exhibits proved they are cocaine weighed to be 8.400 Kilograms, with a street value of over N7billion.”
Also on January 24, at about 12pm, one Edosa Christopher was arrested at the passengers screening point of the MMIA. A body scan of the suspect proved positive for hard drugs ingestion.
Christopher was transferred to NDLEA/JBTF office and placed on excretion observation. He excreted a total of 68 wraps of substance, which proved positive to heroin and weighed 950 grams.
Christopher confessed he bought the illicit substance at the cost of N800,000 from someone he called ‘Paddy’. The suspect claimed he met Paddy at Eagle Rock Hotel around Ago Palace way in Lagos, where he lodged for a brief stay.
But NDLEA’s investigation showed that the hotel does not exist anywhere in Lagos.
NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa, has commended Commander Garba and his team for their efforts. He urged all commands nationwide to remain vigilant.