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How NDLEA rounded up 21 drugs traffickers in two weeks

By Albert Akpor
THERE seemed to be end to tricks employed by drug traffickers to beat eagle-eyed narcotic operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos with the recent interdiction of large chunk of cocain masterly stuck in motor shock-absorbers with a view to exporting the hard stuff.

Whereas, Echeona Mgbemena and Emeka Okwukaogu concealed their hard stuff in auto parts, others like Nnamdi Adolphus either simply swallowed theirs and or buried it in at the bottom of their travelling bags.

But as usual, luck ran against the suspect as he was rounded up.  Except for one, all other suspects were males.  Describing the unfolding trend as amazing irrespective of the continued arrests, the chairman of the anti drug agency, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade warned prospective drug traffickers to desist from the criminal act which he said was not only dragging their family’s reputation in the mud but that of the country.

The drug czar noted that the desperation of drug traffickers has thrown up new challenges as their travel pattern is fast becoming unpredictable. He however assured that the Agency is prepared to effectively handle moves by drug traffickers to evade arrest, hence the prompt detection of the new stratagem.

Continuing Giade noted that, “Though drug traffickers are becoming more ingenious, we too have developed advance finesse in counter-narcotics. We are prepared to subvert whatever new tricks drug traffickers will adopt in smuggling illicit drugs”

Some of the arrested drugs-traffickers

According to him, “it is not complimentary to be referred to an ex-convict. Those planning to smuggle drugs should at least learn from the mistakes of those already in the Agency’s net. Good name is priceless.

Anyone caught and convicted for drug related offences remains an ex-convict”. Giade stated. The NDLEA boss warned those willing to smuggle drug to stay away from drug trafficking and seek legitimate means of contributing to the growth of the country.

The latest arrested suspects includes include Okogbu Wilson, 49 who concealed 1.050kg of cocaine inside his travel bag on his way to Rome and Okereke Chris Ndubisi, 29, who ingested 73 wraps of substances that tested positive to heroin from Istanbul, Turkey.

The airport commander of the agency, Alhaji Hamza Umar said that more people seem to be experimenting with the criminal act for their insatiable quest for money and materialism.

He also explained that cocaine seizure is higher this year with 160.21kg as compared to 140.692kg made the previous year. It will be recalled that in July 2009, a total of 107kg of amphetamine type stimulants was intercepted. A single seizure of 78kg was seized from one Ehirim Prince Ifeanyi on July 8 while another 29kg was intercepted from one Ugbobuaku Samuel on July 25 of last year. The large seizure of cannabis also contributed to the difference in seizures.

The frequency of arrests and vigilance of narcotic officers has also made drug mules to exercise some restraint in smuggling large quantity of drugs this year.

This is very crucial to the drug syndicates as several millions of naira is lost by them whenever drugs are seized. According to Hamza, scanning machines can detect any amount of drug irrespective of the quantity and mode of concealment.

Besides scanners, there are other huddles for the traffickers to cross like undercover officers deployed at various points as well as sniffer dogs.

The latest arrested suspects includes include Okogbu Wilson, 49 who concealed 1.050kg of cocaine inside his travel bag on his way to Rome and Okereke Chris Ndubisi, 29, who ingested 73 wraps of substances that tested positive to heroin from Istanbul, Turkey.

Others are,  Emmanuel Okebe Kalu,37, Barry Hassimiou,32,  Diaby Fode Eba,31, Ahanihu Chinaemerem Joel,24, Simao Lopes,46, Collins Emenike Chinenye,31, Imagbenikaro Gladys, 27,Okoli Augustine Chidi,34 and Nwokediuko Davidson Ndubuisi,32. Others are Ezeakunne Panteleon Omanda,38, Uwakara Kingsley Ifeanyi,35, Uffoh Jachike Johnson,35 Victor Ighouwhokori, 25, Adibe Wisdom Baloba,41, Mensah Kwame Anthony, 37, and Enajike Lewis Igho,36.

Some of the arrested drugs-traffickers

Attributing the recent arrest to the yuletide season, Alhaji Hamzar noted that, “ The  usual end of year rush to acquire money for the yuletide season may have commenced rather too early this year because between  January and September 2010, a total of 150 suspected drug traffickers were arrested at the Lagos airport by the NDLEA, while 121 arrests were made within same period the previous year.

The record represents 24 percent increase in the number of people nabbed for drug related offences.  There is however a decrease in the quantity of drugs seized. While 282.159kg of drugs were intercepted this year, 479.75kg was seized in 2009 representing 41 percent decrease. Out of the 282.159kg seized this year, cocaine has the largest chunk with 160.21kg, methamphetamine is next with 39.015kg, heroin 31.398kg and cannabis 25.050kg.

The breakdown of last year seizure of 479.75kg for the corresponding period shows that cannabis accounts for the biggest chunk with 195.984kg, cocaine was next with 140.692kg and psychotropic substances 122.91kg.

“The situation appears to have taken a different dimension this year with drug traffickers adopting new stratagem in their criminal act. The degree of desperation is growing by the day as some of them have resorted to the acquisition of other countries international passports.

One Barry Hassimiou, Diaby Fode Eba and Simao Lopes whose real names are Onuwa Everistus from Imo State, Onyia Okwudili and Ibebike Agu who are both from Enugu State were caught attempting to travel with Guinea international passports. Similarly, Mensah Kwame Anthony who was travelling with a Ghanian passport hails from Enugu State and his real name is Osita Nnaji Anthony. Three suspects, Barry Hassimiou, Diaby Fode Eba and Uffoh Jachike Johnson were found to be taking methamphetamine to Thailand which is a heroin producing country.

One of the female suspects Imagbenikaro Gladys is a hairdresser based in Italy. The 27 year old woman who hails from Benin City, Edo State ingested 104 wraps of substances that tested positive to cocaine. She was caught during the screening of Alitalia passengers to Rome but her final destination was Milan. According to her, though married to an Italian, life in Italy was frustrating and she needed money to establish a boutique in Nigeria.

“I was anxious to get money and I never thought of arrest. My target was to set up a boutique but I am regretting everything now because my husband is not even aware I smuggled drugs” she stated.

Uffoh Jachike Johnson an auto parts dealer in kano said he was introduced into the criminal act in Kano State but the contact was in Lagos. He told narcotic officers that the desire to have a house at the village before the Christmas season was what led him into drug trafficking.

“Everything about my travel was arranged in Kano but the contact that will give me the drug is in Lagos. When I got to Lagos, I was checked into a hotel where I ingested 100 wraps of the drugs. I am tired of staying in rented apartment during Christmas and I needed my personal house. I would have been paid 5,000 dollars” Jachike who hails from Ejikoka in Anambra State stated. His final destination was Thailand.

Nwokedi Davidson Ndubisi a street hawker in Lagos was also recruited to ferry illicit drugs. He was to board an Iberia flight to Spain when he was apprehended. He ingested 67 wraps of drugs for 5,000 Euros. He hails from Imo State. Emmanuel Okebe Kalu, a trader in Benin Republic last year he travelled to Brazil in search of greener pastures but confessed the situation there was unbearable and he decided to smuggle drugs.

He was caught during the inward screening of passengers on South Africa airline flight to Nigeria. He ingested 61 wraps of drugs and would have been paid 600,000 naira. He hails from Abia State.

Echeona Mgbemena

Ahinahu Chinaemerem Joel claim to be a student in Malasia was caught with 3.600kg of heroin concealed in his bag. He however blamed it on his roommate in Malasia. “I am a student studying English. The Nigerian who is my roommate in Malasia gave me the bag. Unfortunately, drug was found in it” he stated. Ahinahu hails from Imo State.

Collins Emenike who works in a supermarket in Dusseldorf ingested 90 wraps of drugs for a fee of 4,000 Euros. He claimed to have smuggled drugs as a result of frustration. In his words, “I have been to Athens and Turkey but could not make ends meet.

I smuggled drugs out of frustration”. He hails from Anambra State. Ezeakune Panteleon Omanda who was inot  electronics eqauipment was arrested on his way from Brazil. He said he was deported from Switzerland in 2008 and travelled to Brazil three months ago.

He however decided to traffic narcotics to survive. According to him, “I would have been paid one million naira if I was successful. The offer of a million was irresistible after all my struggles in life”.

Two other suspects who are auto parts dealer in Anambra State, Okoli Augustine Chidi who sells at Nkpo market and Ifeanyi Kingsley who sells at Nbosi market were also apprehended on their way out of the country. Their reason was equally to make money.


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