By Lawani Mikairu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Sunday said it has intercepted cocaine, weighing 27.95 kilogrammes with a street value of over N8 billion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Babafemi , a Brazil based drug kingpin, Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku, who led a syndicate was arrested at the airport on Friday 14th May.
He said the suspect was arrested for importing 27.95kg of cocaine using an organised criminal gang, which specialised in tagging and planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage.
Babafemi added that ” based on intelligence, narcotic agents at the MMIA had on Saturday 8th May intercepted a bag that arrived the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”.
He said the baggage with tag No. – ET331199 arrived through an Ethiopian airline flight but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight.
He said the disclaimed bag was promptly secured by NDLEA operatives for investigation.
He further said on Sunday, 9th May, a man came to the airport to make inquiry on how to get the disclaimed bag released. He was promptly arrested for investigation.
“The disclaimed bag was opened in the presence of the arriving passenger and the man who came to negotiate the release of the disputed bag.
“When it was opened, it was found that the bag contained 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95kg.
“A follow up sting operation was carried out, which led to the arrest of Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku, the prime suspect, on Friday 14th May, upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian airline.”
He added that during preliminary interrogation after his arrest, he confessed to have been contracted by his Ethiopian associate, a notorious drug baron to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos.
“He further admitted to have paid the 24,500 dollars bribe in three tranches to compromise NDLEA officers.
“The first was 10,000 dollars delivered through his representative in Lagos and another 10, 000 dollars via his First Bank account while the third tranche of 4,500 dollars was paid at the point of his arrest
“His group is suspected to be responsible for recruiting traffickers to move illicit drugs to various destinations using Nigeria as their transit location and also planting drugs in the luggage of innocent travellers,” Babafemi said.
Reacting to the arrest, the Chairman, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa,(rtd) said he was impressed by the outcome of the intelligence-led operational strategies that took weeks of painstaking efforts and closely monitored by him.
Marwa also commended the Commander, MMIA Command of the agency, Ahmadu Garba, his officers and men for their diligence and resilience in following up every lead in the case until the kingpin was successfully entrapped and arrested.