NDLEA bursts drug dealers nets, arrests kingpins, others

OPERATIVES of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have intercepted various quantities of illicit drugs and arrested drug dealers in some parts of the country.

Some of the illicit drugs, such as ephedrine, skunk and nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas, were being shipped to South Africa and Kenya when the agency intercepted them at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos.

A statement by the agency’s spokesperson Femi Babafemi on Sunday, September 3, said the drugs were being transported by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO), some of whom were promptly arrested, their mansions raided, and their luxury vehicles seized.

NDLEA also said it intercepted a notorious drug trafficker, Suleiman Babatunde Oba, a member of a cartel distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe, on Friday, August 25, following credible intelligence.

Oba was arrested while attempting to board a Rwanda Air flight to South Africa with two boxes loaded with ephedrine sealed in semovita packs. 

The recovered substance, according to the statement, is a precursor chemical and active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.

“In his 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, 28th August, 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,” the statement added.

The agency, said it seized 25.60kg ephedrine from a trafficker, Arua Emmanuel Onwuka, at the Lagos Airport in August 2021, a seizure that has also been traced to the same cartel whose identified members are currently on the run. 

In the same vein, an 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, 26th August. 

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The suspect, Ekechukwu Sixtus Ndubuisi, was subsequently arrested in connection with the seizure.

Another bid to export a consignment of 180 canisters of laughing gas to South Africa by a freight agent, Oyekola Gbenga Akeem, for two million naira was also frustrated by operatives who seized the cargo and arrested the suspect, the NDLEA said.

Similarly, NDLEA operatives on Friday, August  25, arrested a drug kingpin, Ngene Emmanuel Onyedikachi, who recruited the fake couple, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi and Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum arrested for ingesting 1.822kg and 1.50kg of cocaine respectively at the Lagos Airport on August 1, while on their way to India. 

The kingpin was picked up at his residence at 28 Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Yaba, 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, whom he claimed he met at Zion Church in the Cele area of Lagos. He explained that the drug was sourced from Guinea Conakry. 

    “While operatives of the Lagos state Command of the agency on Monday, 28th August, arrested a suspect, Peter Iwebema, at Ikorodu 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 statement added.

    Also, the NDLEA operatives in Sokoto, on Tuesday, August 29, arrested two male suspects: Nafiu Arzika, 30, and Jamilu Aminu, 35, with 330kg skunk, while another suspect, Ismaila Razak, 38, was nabbed with 34.5kg of same substance and 9.5 grams of methamphetamine on Saturday, September 2, at Olodo area of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

    The chairman/chief executive of the NDLEA, Brigadier-General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), charged his officers in all state commands to remain vigilant and keep their focus on the agency’s corporate goals.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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