Crime

3 Wanted Drug Kingpins in NDLEA Net over 51.90kg Heroin Seized at Lagos Airport

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have announced the arrest of three wanted drug kingpins following the seizure of 51.90 kilograms (kg) of heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to a statement issued by the Director, Media and Advocacy of NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi on Sunday, the Agency declared the three individuals (Osita Emmanuel Obinna, Onyinyechi Irene Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu) wanted over two months ago.

NDLEA revealed that the arrested cartel specialize in illicit drug trafficking across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America following the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at the MMIA.

“A total of 51.90 kilograms of heroin had been recovered from members of the drug cartel in an operation that began 10th February 2024 at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal. The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70kg recovered from the equipment, while additional 2.2kg was seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in Ayobo area of Lagos.

“While the Agency has secured interim forfeiture court order on hotel, mansions, vehicles and funds traced to members of the syndicate after arresting four of them, a manhunt was also launched for others who went underground. The effort however paid off on Friday 19th April when two of the wanted kingpins: Onyinyechi Irene Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu were arrested in Lagos and Awka, Anambra States respectively. Another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Emmanuel Obinna was equally nabbed in Lagos,” the statement partly read.

In a related development, the attempt by a suspect, Iheakara Ifeanyichukwu Festus to export a drug consignment through the terminal 2 of the Lagos Airport to Muscat, Oman through Ethiopian airline flight on Thursday, April 18 was thwarted by NDLEA officers.

“When his luggage was searched, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80kg were discovered concealed in his bag. In his statement, the suspect who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria in 1st April, confessed he was hired to courier the drug with an agreement to get paid ₦1,200,000 upon successful delivery in Oman,” the Agency stated.

Elsewhere (Adamawa State), NDLEA operatives on Saturday, April 20 intercepted a Peugeot car driven by Dahiru Mohammed at Girei on his way to Mubi with 1,250,000 pills of opioids weighing 450kg.

NDLEA disclosed that it had earlier intercepted along Ngurore -Yola road a J5 bus marked AAA790XV loaded with motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State, with consignments of Codeine Syrup and Tramadol concealed in-between the motor parts.

It added that a follow up operation led to the arrest of the recipient, Jarius Nwanchor at Jambutu motor park in Adamawa State.

Similarly, three suspects: Beriakuma Vivian Chinedu, 40; Okpor Isaac, 68, and Daniel Onyeachom, 42, were on Saturday, April 20 arrested at Amarata,Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in connection with the seizure of 69 compressed blocks of cannabis weighing 36kg and concealed in a false compartment of a Toyota Picnic car marked MUS 711 DH they were travelling in.

The anti-narcotic agency also noted that its operatives in Imo State on Thursday, April 18 nabbed Kingsley Omeje, 41, at Amajeke, Owerri while he was taking delivery of 49 bottles of codeine syrup he ordered.

“In Ondo state, NDLEA operatives raided the Oloro camp, Ogbese, Akure North LGA where they arrested Linus Odogwu, 50, and destroyed a total of 25,000 kilograms of cannabis on 10 hectares of farmland while they recovered 89.5kg of same substance. Three other suspects: David Obungete Ekepenyoung, 22; Oluwaseun Folorunso,23; and Rabiu Musa, 32, were nabbed in other parts of the state in connection to different seizures totaling 77kg,” the Agency stressed.

NDLEA also emphasised that its Commands across the country intensified their War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy lectures which include: WADA sensitisation lecture to students and staff of St. Dominick High School, Makurdi, Benue State; Students and staff of Federal Polytechnic, Kazaure, Jigawa State.

Others are traders at timber market, Umuokpo, Awka, Anambra and WADA advocacy visit to Methodist Church (Bishop Court) Abeokuta, Ogun State, among others.

In his remarks, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo and Imo Commands of the Agency for their balanced efforts in the past week.

Gen. Marwa equally applauded their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures, thereby creating parity between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities.

Hope Ejairu

Hope Ejairu is a writer, sports analyst and journalist, with publications on print and digital media. He holds certifications in various media/journalism trainings, including AFP.

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