The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a man, Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku, who flew into Nigeria with 36 blocks of cocaine worth over N8 billion at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
This was announced in a statement issued by Femi Babafemi, NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, on sunday.
According to the agency, Enwereaku, who is based in Brazil, was arrested at the airport on May 14 after arriving in the country from Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on an Ethiopian airline flight.
The agency alleged that the suspect imported the cocaine using an “organised criminal gang, which specialises in tagging/planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage”.
The statement read: “Based on intelligence, narcotic agents at the MMIA had on Saturday 8th May, 2021 intercepted a bag that arrived the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the Ethiopian airline with baggage tag No- ET331199 but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight.
“The disclaimed bag was promptly secured by NDLEA operatives for investigation. On Sunday, 9th May, 2021, 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.”
The NDLEA said a follow-up sting operation was carried out which led to the arrest of Enwereaku upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian Airline.
It noted that the suspect during preliminary interrogation confessed to have been contracted by his Ethiopian associate to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos.
It added that its operatives seized $24,500 which the suspect had paid as a bribe to facilitate his movement past checks at the airport.
The statement read: “He further admitted to have paid the $24,500 bribe in three tranches to compromise NDLEA officers. The first was $10,000 delivered through his representative in Lagos and another $10, 000 via his First Bank account while the third tranche of $4,500 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.”
Reacting to the development, Mohammed Buba Marwa, NDLEA Chairman, commended Ahmadu Garba, Commander of MMIA command of the agency, and his officers for the arrest.