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NDLEA arrests seven drug traffickers, intercepts cocaine consignment

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Abiola Seun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has stopped attempts by Brazil-based drug cartels to smuggle large consignments of Cocaine into Nigeria through three major international airports in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos and consequently arrested seven traffickers.

At the Port Harcourt International Airport, five suspects were arrested on Saturday, April 9.

Three of them were arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt.

NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, said the three suspects departed Sao Paulo, Brazil on board same Qatar flight, en-route Doha to Abuja and Port Harcourt with a total of 24.96 kilograms of cocaine.

The first is 51-year-old Udogwu James Johnson who hails from Orlu LGA, Imo State.

He was arrested with 5.48kg of cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles sealed with candle wax and he claimed he agreed to traffic the drug for a fee of N1million.

Also arrested was Ezekwueme Ifeanyi Valentine, 32, from Aguata LGA, Anambra State, who was caught with 10.82kg cocaine packed in 84 sachets concealed in seven duvets, while the third trafficker, Chiezie Ikechukwu Arinze, 35, from Dunukofia LGA, Anambra State, was arrested with 8.66kg cocaine hidden in 115 golden and silver colour 30ml breakable bottles factory packaged with lotion on top.

The fourth suspect, Uchechukwu Onwugbufor, 42, from Idemili North LGA, Anambra State, was arrested at the airport car park while waiting to receive one of the traffickers, Udogwu James and his consignment.

Uchechukwu Onwugbufor was at the Airport with his neighbour, Nwogu Ezimadu, who is equally being investigated to determine if he’s complicit in the crime or not.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA) Abuja, a Psychology graduate of Imo State University, Owerri, Sebastine Emeka Kelvin, 30, was arrested with 74 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.454kg on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight enroute Doula-Addis Ababa-Abuja on Wednesday, April 13.

In Lagos, another Brazil based passenger, Uba Samuel, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) by NDLEA operatives on Friday, April 15 on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight from Sao Paulo via Addis Ababa to Lagos with sachets of cocaine weighing 633grams concealed in his footwear and toothpaste tube.

The suspect, who claims to be a shoemaker and barber, hails from Umunneochi, Abia state.

 While accepting ownership of the drug, he said he used his shoe making knowledge to conceal the drug in his pair of sandals. Uba, who is a regular traveller, confessed he bought the drug to sell at a market in Abia.

Meanwhile, more illicit substances were recovered in raid operations in other parts of the country. In Gadaka village of Fika LGA, Yobe state, operatives arrested one Hassan Usman with a total of 22, 110 tablets of Tramadol, D5 and Exol 5, while one Ali Mohammed was nabbed in a commercial vehicle coming from Kano to Maiduguri with 40 blocks of cannabis weighing 33kg.

 Also arrested on the Kano-Maiduguri route was a driver, Ibrahim Khalil Idris with 60 packets of Tramadol, all on Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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