The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized 36 blocks of cocaine worth over N8 billion at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The agency disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, by the Director of Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi, who disclosed the substance weighed 27.95 kilogrammes.
He also said a suspect identified as Mr. Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku was arrested at the airport on May 14, 2021.
Enwereaku, based in Brazil, is said to have imported the cocaine using “organised criminal gang, which is notorious in tagging/planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage”.
“Based on intelligence, narcotic agents at the MMIA had on Saturday 8th May, 2021 intercepted a bag that arrived the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the Ethiopian airline with baggage tag No- ET331199 but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight.
“The disclaimed bag was promptly secured by NDLEA operatives for investigation. On Sunday, 9th May, 2021, a man came to the airport to make inquiry on how to get the disclaimed bag released. He was promptly arrested for investigation.
“The disclaimed bag was opened in the presence of the arriving passenger and the man who came to negotiate the release of the disputed bag. When it was opened, it was found that the bag contained 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95kg,” Babafemi said.
The statement maintained that a follow-up sting operation was carried out, which led to the arrest of Enwereaku upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian Airline.
The agency, during preliminary interrogation, said the suspect confessed to have been contracted by his Ethiopian associate to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos.
Enwereaku also said he paid $24,500 bribe a sum which the agency seized.
“He further admitted to have paid the $24,500 bribe in three tranches to compromise NDLEA officers. The first was $10,000 delivered through his representative in Lagos and another $10, 000 via his First Bank account while the third tranche of $4,500 was paid at the point of his arrest.
“His group is suspected to be responsible for recruiting traffickers to move illicit drugs to various destinations using Nigeria as their transit location and also planting drugs in the luggage of innocent travellers,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, NDLEA, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), in his remarks, hailed the Commander, MMIA command of the agency, Mr. Ahmadu Garba, and his officers for the arrest.
According to Marwa; “I have warned that we’ll henceforth not only go after the traffickers but with the same vigour target the cartels and the kingpins that operate them; the latest arrest is a clear confirmation that we’ll match our words with action and that we’ll come for those who will not back out of the criminal trade, wherever they are hiding pushing instruments of death through our borders to destroy the lives of our youths”
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