NDLEA nab drug syndicates, seizes 14.4m opioid pills


Operatives of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested six members of a syndicate using their official cover to facilitate the smuggling of illicit drugs into Nigeria.

This was as the agency busted three major drug cartels operating in Amuwo Odofin, Idumota and the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos.

According to the NDLEA whose spokesperson Femi Babafemi, issued a statement on Sunday, the suspects use their official cover to facilitate their operations and smuggle illicit drugs into the country through the Skyway Aviation Handling Company warehouse at the Lagos airport.

He revealed that 1,210,000 pills of tramadol were also seized from them in a painstaking operation that lasted for weeks and that the NDLEA also recovered 14,481,519 pills of Tramadol and bottles of codeine syrup worth over N13 billion in street value.

The anti-narcotics agency noted that the three intelligence-led operations began with the raid of House 8/10 Hon. Wahuha Avenue, Divine Estate, Ago Palace area of Amuwo Odofin on Sunday, October 29, where 490,000 pills of tramadol and 81,519 bottles of codeine syrup measuring 4, 510, 000mls were recovered.

Similarly, in an operation on Tuesday, October 31, by operatives of the NDLEA on a secret warehouse operated by a billionaire Idumota trader, Nwaoha Anayo and located at Onitire, Aguda area of Surulere, 12,700,000 pills of tramadol were recovered, according to Babafemi’s statement on Sunday.

According to him, the six suspects – Oladele Sanya-Olu; Lawal Itunu Temitope; Sanamo Daniel; Udeh Monday; Musa Mutalib and Unege Icibor, in relation to the illegal drug trade through SAHCO, are already in NDLEA custody, while three other suspects – Sarki Salami; Abdullahi Aliyu (aka Aboki); and Monday Anwal, are now on the run and wanted by the NDLEA.

Moreso, Baafemi disclosed that NDLEA operatives on Sunday, October 29, intercepted another 50-year-old businessman, Nwokolo Ifeanyi At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Ifeanyi was said to have been intercepted during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 to Amsterdam, Netherlands via Paris, France at the boarding gate and was body scanned.

Babafemi revealed that the result turned out to be positive for illicit drug ingestion.

He noted, “The suspect who traveled from Lagos to board the flight was subsequently kept under observation for some days during which he excreted a total of 86 pellets of heroin weighing 1.330 kilogrammes.

“Similarly, NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation, attached to courier firms on Monday, October 30, intercepted 22 parcels of cocaine concealed in the walls of a carton containing sewn local fabrics popularly called Aso Oke, heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,”

Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives have arrested three blind men operating an illicit drug ring between Lagos and Kano, while another blind member of the syndicate is still at large.

The lid was blown off the group following the arrest of a blind suspect, Adamu Hassan, 40, along Gwagwalada expressway Abuja with 12kgs of skunk on his way from Lagos to Kano on Saturday, October 28.

The spokesperson for the NDLEA noted that investigations, however, established that he was totally oblivious to the content of the bag handed to him to deliver in Kano.

“Follow-up operations then led to the arrest of the arrowhead of the syndicate, Bello Abubakar, 45, who is also blind. In his statement, Bello who is married with five children said he has been living in Lagos for 30 years but started the illicit drug business five years ago.

“Another suspect, Muktar Abubakar, 59, who is equally blind has been living in Lagos for 40 years and married to three wives with 14 children. Both Muktar Abubakar and Bello Abubakar are joint owners of the business, while the third suspect, Akilu Amadu, 25, also blind equally contributes money to the criminal trade and was indeed the one who delivered the consignment to Adamu at the motor park in Lagos to deliver in Kano. Another blind suspect who is the expected receiver of the consignment in Kano, Mallam Aminu is currently at large,” Babafemi noted.

While operatives in Osun on Saturday, November 4, stormed the Obada sawmill forest in Owena-Ijesa, Oriade LGA where they arrested a suspect, Monday Sylvester, 37, on 6.01 hectares of cannabis farm which was destroyed and 489.8kgs already processed plant recovered, their colleagues in Edo raided a trans-loading point inside Avbiosi forest, Owan West LGA where 603 kilograms of the illicit substance were seized.

Also, NDLEA officers in Ogun state on Friday, November 3, recovered a Toyota Sienna bus from a ditch, at Ajebo Area, along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of 460kgs of the same substance, while a total of 116.5kgs of cannabis sativa belonging to a suspect at large were seized at Olagunju, Mushin area of Lagos.

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