NDLEA intercepts N6.5bn heroin at Lagos airport
Blocks cocaine, others from going to UK, Dubai
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted a consignment of 26.150 kilogrammes of heroin with a street value of over N6.5 billion at the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.
The illicit drug arrived Lagos in 25 parcels from South Africa through an Air Peace flight on June 30, and was detained for screening following reasonable suspicion of the content of the consignment.
The agency’ Director, Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement that a follow-up operation was subsequently carried out the following day, July 1, when narcotic officers of the MMIA command trailed the driver and a clearing agent that were assigned to deliver the consignment to the house of a baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu, at No. 132 Lateef Adegboyega Street, off Ago Palace Way by Grandmate Bus Stop Okota, Lagos.
According to him, during the follow-up operation, Onwurolu, who obviously mounted a counter-surveillance around his neighbourhood, fled his home before the arrival of the team of operatives who stormed his residence.
They were, however, able to search his home and recovered a number of documents to establish his true identity. Following the development, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Mohamed Buba Marwa, has directed that the fleeing drug baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu, be declared wanted immediately and his details submitted to Interpol for tracking across the world.
He therefore directed the agency’s Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations, as well as the Directorate of Intelligence, to deploy their networks to fast-track the arrest of Onwurolu.
Marwa said in view of the volume of heroin brought into the country by the fleeing baron, the agency would deploy all available mechanisms, locally and internationally, to track him and bring him to face charges in the law court.
“Those who have been on the run for 10 years and some for five years, we have since tracked them and are now facing charges while cooling their heels behind bars. The latest one won’t be an exception, because he can only run, but cannot hide for too long before we will get him,” Marwa said.
Babafemi also stated that the agency intercepted 4.3kgs of skunkweed imported from Canada. The package, which came on Ethiopian Airline, was concealed in nine packs of cereals.
He said: “Also, on July 9, one Babatunde Usman Omogbolahan Bakare was intercepted by NDLEA operatives with 550grams of cannabis and 50grams of Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) concealed in six jerry cans of local herbal mixtures called Gabo at SAHCO export shed, MMIA, Ikeja. The drug was detected during outward clearance of Cargo going to Dubai.
“Earlier on Tuesday, July 6, operatives of the MMIA Command conducted a follow-up operation at Gate 2, Ladipo Oluwole Street, opposite Guinness Bottling Company, Ikeja, where one Animashaun Kabiru was apprehended for questioning about a bag containing bitter kola, which was brought for export to the UK.
“When the bag of bitter kola was searched, it was discovered that the bitter kola was mixed with some wraps of a substance suspected to be an illicit drug. Thirty-six wraps of the suspected substance later tested positive for cocaine weighing 600grams.”
IN a related development, an Uber driver, Lawal Tunde Rasheed, arrested on June 8 in connection with the seizure of a cocaine consignment, has been released following his cooperation that led to the arrest of the real owner of the drug, one Egbo Emmanuel Maduka, who, in his statement, accepted ownership of the consignment and absolved Lawal of any complicity.
Commending the officers and men of the MMIA Command of the agency for the series of seizure and arrests in the past week, Marwa asked them not to rest on their oars, adding: “We must all remain fully prepared and proactive at all times if we have to battle this scourge to a standstill.”