Two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations with a multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drugs have been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, saying the agency also seized assets from the traffickers after weeks of intelligence-led operations within and outside the country.
The duo, 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 in Abuja, Babafemi explained.
“Operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja 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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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,” Babafemi added.