NDLEA nabs cocaine kingpin, raids homes of cartel leaders
• Intercepts ephedrine, others at Lagos airport
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a drug kingpin, Ngene Emmanuel Onyedikachi, who recruited a fake couple, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi and Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum.
The fake couple was earlier arrested on August 1, for ingesting 1.822kg and 1.50kg of cocaine at the Lagos airport, while on their way to India.
The Guardian learnt that the kingpin was picked at his residence located at 28 Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, after an intensive surveillance that lasted 25 days.
During his interview, Onyedikachi confessed that the two suspects, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi and Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum, were introduced to him by another member of his syndicate, who he claimed he met at Zion Church in Cele area of Lagos.
He explained that the drug was sourced from Guinea Conakry. The suspect revealed that when he got information about the arrest of the fake couple, he threw away his old mobile phone along with the SIM cards to avoid being traced, adding that he became relaxed and refused to leave his house because the two couriers do not know his house since they have only met twice at different locations.
He said he was living in India before he returned to Nigeria in 2022 after the Indian authorities discovered he was using Ivory Coast International passport. A blue Acura Legend car was part of items recovered from his home during his arrest.
Also, a notorious drug trafficker, Suleiman Babatunde Oba, who is a member of a cartel distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe has been arrested.
He was arrested on Friday, August 25, while attempting to board a RwandAir flight to South Africa with two boxes loaded with ephedrine sealed in semovita packs.
Through credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives also intercepted various quantities of ephedrine, skunk, and nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas, concealed in semovita packs and dry pepper being shipped to South Africa and Kenya through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.
The Guardian learnt that some members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organisation (DTO) were also arrested, their mansions raided, and their luxury vehicles seized during the exercise.
Confirming the development, spokesperson for the agency, Femi Babafemi, said the recovered substance is a precursor chemical and active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.
Babafemi said, in a statement, Suleiman, who holds a South African passport, married to a South African lady and has lived there for over 20 years, identified Hakeem Babatunde Salami, who equally lives in Lagos and South Africa, as the head of the drug ring.
“A follow up raid in the house of Salami located at 75 Wosilatu Dawodu Street, Ijesha, Aguda area of Surulere, Lagos, on Monday, August 28, revealed that he had fled the country on the same day Suleiman was arrested.
“However, a white Toyota Venza car with registration number LSR 410 HT, a Mercedes Benz SUV marked LSD 998HP, phones and vital documents needed for further investigation were recovered from the house.
“In August 2021, the Agency had seized 25.60kg ephedrine from a trafficker, Arua Emmanuel Onwuka, at the Lagos airport, a seizure that has also been traced to the same cartel whose identified members are currently on the run.
“An official of the airport, Godwin Shedrack (a.k.a Goddy) fingered as a member of the syndicate is also under investigation,” Babafemi added.
Similarly, attempt by another syndicate to export 10.40kg skunk concealed with scent leaf and pepper, going to Nairobi, Kenya, was equally thwarted by NDLEA operatives attached to the NAHCO export shed of the airport on Saturday, August 26.
A suspect, Ekechukwu Sixtus Ndubuisi, has already been arrested in connection with the seizure.
Another bid to export a consignment of 180 cannisters of laughing gas to South Africa by a freight agent, Oyekola Gbenga Akeem, for a fee of N2 million was also frustrated by operatives who seized the cargo and arrested the suspect.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives on Monday, August 28, arrested a suspect, Peter Iwebema, at Ikorodu, Lagos, with 79 and a half bags of Cannabis sativa, weighing 864.5kg, their counterparts at Tincan port command intercepted 27 parcels of Colorado, weighing 13.5kg. The seizure was made from a container, MSMU 5664550 coming from Toronto via Montreal, Canada, during a joint examination with men of Customs Service.
The synthetic substance was discovered concealed in a bag hidden a Ford Edge SUV, which was part of three units of used vehicles and motor parts in the container.
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