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NDLEA seizes $4.9m, CFA57m fake currencies, arrests 2 wanted transnational drug moguls

Photo: NDLEA

*Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency also seizes assets, including luxury cars from the arrested drug traffickers after weeks of intelligence-led operations within and outside the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations with a multi-billion-Naira worth of illicit drugs.

Mr. Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at NDLEA, who disclosed this in a statement issued Sunday, October 15, 2023, said the anti-narcotics regulatory agency also seized assets from the traffickers following weeks of intelligence-led operations within and outside the West African country.

The NDLEA stated that the suspects, who concealed cocaine and heroin in their bellies, were nabbed after NDLEA operatives intercepted consignments designated to Paris, France, and Doha, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), in Abuja, FCT.

“Operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, in Lagos, on Tuesday, 10th October succeeded in taking into custody, Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation” involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe,” the statement read.

Babafemi further stated: “He fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Babatunde Oba at the Lagos airport on August 25 over an attempt to export 25.10kgs of ephedrine to South Africa.

“Hakeem Babatunde Salami was however smoked out of hiding through partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms.

“While some of his luxury vehicles have been seized and his home in Surulere, Lagos, sealed, other members of the cartel are already in custody including Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew.”

According to NDLEA, at the Abuja airport, NDLEA operatives arrested a suspected drug trafficker, Nwofor Ejiogu Charles, on Friday, October 6 during the outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight QR 1432 to Doha.

After a body scan revealed he ingested cocaine, the anti-narcotics agency said he was placed under observation during which he excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653 kgs.

The statement said: “At the point of his arrest, Nwofor who was the last passenger to board his flight offered to compromise an NDLEA officer with $3,000 to free him.

“The following day, Saturday 7th October, another trafficker, Nwufo Charles Okwudili, 45, was also arrested while attempting to board Lufthansa Airlines flight LH 0595 to Paris, France via Frankfurt, Germany.

“After being put through a body scanner, he was taken into a recovery room where he excreted 96 wraps of heroin he ingested with a total weight of 1.413 kgs.”

Babafemi added: “Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Okene -Lokoja-Abuja expressway on Tuesday 10th October, intercepted a commercial bus coming from Lagos to Kano.

“A search of the bus led to the seizure of four million, eight hundred and eighty thousand US dollars ($4,880,000), and fifty-seven million Céfa, (CFA57,000,000) suspected to be counterfeits.”

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