Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, have arrested a Brazil returnee, Iroegbute Ejike Francis, 46, for allegedly smuggling 4kg cocaine soaked in towels and stuffed in his hand luggage into the country.
A spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi, said on Sunday in Abuja that Iroegbute was arrested on Thursday 24th November, upon his arrival on a Qatar Airline flight from Brazil-Doha-Abuja.
Trafficker with cocaine in sandals nabbed
Also, operatives of the NDLEA, at the weekend, disrupted the activities of a major cocaine syndicate in Lagos following the arrest of a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Lateef Oyenuga.
The suspect was on a mission to deliver 400 grams of the class A drug concealed in a pair of palm sandals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
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There was also a swift follow-up arrest of a wanted notorious kingpin, Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, popularly known as ‘Teacher’, who recruits mules for the cartel.
Babafemi said that the NDLEA operatives attached to the screening point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos had on Thursday 24th November intercepted Oyenuga with a pair of black palm sandals packed in the luggage he was going with to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia via Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airways flight.
“A thorough examination of the sandals revealed they were used to conceal two parcels of cocaine weighing 400 grams.
“This is barely a week after a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, Mrs Ajisegiri Kehinde Sidika, was arrested at the airport over her attempt to traffic 400 grams of cocaine concealed in her footwear to Makkah, Saudi Arabia on board a Qatar Airways flight,” Babafemi said.
In his statement, Oyenuga claimed he was recruited to traffic the drug by ‘Teacher’ and that he was first given some pellets of cocaine to swallow but when he couldn’t do that, he was given the ones concealed in the palm sandals.
He said he resorted to the criminal trade to raise money to pay an examination fee for his daughter who is in Senior Secondary School class 3.
The Agency’s database reveals ‘Teacher’ has been linked to some previous attempts to traffic cocaine to Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.
He was earlier named as the one who recruited a BRT driver, Bolajoko Muyiwa Babalola, for Lagos socialite and owner of Adekaz Hotels, Alhaji Ademola Afolabi Kazeem (a.k.a Alhaji Abdallah Kazeem Muhammed) to traffic drugs to Dubai.
Bolajoko was arrested on 27th June this year while taking 900 grams of cocaine to Dubai while Ademola Kazeem was nabbed five months later on Thursday 10th November, barely 10 days after he was declared wanted by NDLEA.
In the same vein, operatives attached to NAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport on Tuesday 22nd November intercepted a consolidated cargo from Johannesburg, South Africa via an Airpeace Airline flight.
The cargo contained different items, including cloths, cereals, baby toys, drinks, and a set of two big black speakers, which were used to conceal 25 parcels of Loud variant of cannabis, with a gross weight of 5.5kg.
Also, an attempt by a drug trafficker, Udogwu James Johnson, facing multiple charges of drug offences to flee the country after he jumped bail was thwarted by NDLEA operatives at the Port Harcourt International Airport where he was arrested on Friday 25th November.
The 51-year-old suspect was already facing trial at a Federal High Court in Lagos before he was arrested again on Saturday 9th April in Port Harcourt for importing 5.48kg cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles sealed with candle wax.
He was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday 23rd Nov over his latest offence while the Lagos court had issued a warrant of arrest against him for jumping bail over his case in Lagos.