The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed how it foiled attempts by Brazil-based drug cartels who attempted to smuggle large consignments of cocaine into Nigeria through three international airports across Nigeria within six days.
This was confirmed by Femi Babafemi, Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA.
According to the spokesperson of the agency, the cartels and seven traffickers were arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport.
How cartels were intercepted
Babafemi disclosed that five suspects were arrested on April 9 at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
- He said, “Three of them were arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt. 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. He claimed he agreed to traffic the drug for a fee of N1million.
- “Others suspects arrested were Azekwueme Valentine who was caught with 10.82kg cocaine packed in 84 sachets concealed in seven duvets.The third trafficker, Chiezie Arinze, 35, from Dunukofia LGA, Anambra, 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, was arrested at the airport car park while waiting to receive one of the traffickers, Udogwu James and his consignment.
- “He claimed he was contacted by someone in Brazil to receive Udogwu and lead him to Lagos for a fee of N100, 000.
- “Onwugbufor was at the Airport with his neigbour, Nwogu Ezimadu, who is equally being investigated to determine if he’s complicit in the crime or not.”
The NDLEA spokesperson added that Sebastine Kelvin, a psychology graduate of Imo State University, Owerri, was arrested with 74 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.454kg at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja.
Babafemi said he was arrested on arrival aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight en route Doula-Addis Ababa-Abuja on April 13.
He said the suspect claimed he lived in Cameroon for six years before going into the drug business to raise money to boost his trade.
“He said he was introduced to the man who gave him the drugs in Addis Ababa by another person serving jail term for drug offence at the Doula Newbell Prison. Uba Samuel, another Brazil-based passenger, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos by NDLEA on April 15.
“The suspect was arrested 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. More illicit substances were recovered in raid operations in other parts of the country,” he said.