NDLEA Arrests Drug Syndicate Involving SAHCO, NAHCO Employees

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has announced the arrest of a fleeing suspected drug kingpin heading a syndicate operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos with six other members.

This was disclosed by a spokesperson for the agency, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Wednesday, who also said that a professional methamphetamine (Mkpuru Mmiri) cook and a lawyer were also arrested in Owerri, Imo state and Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state respectively.

According to Mr Babafemi, the MMIA drug syndicate was behind the smuggling of 1, 584,000 tablets of Tramadol seized on Tuesday, March 15 by NDLEA operatives in collaboration with Aviation Security (AVSEC) and Customs service personnel at the airport.

The seizure includes 17 cartons of 250mg Tramadol branded as “Tamra” weighing 669.70kg and five cartons of 225mg Tramadol under the brand name “Royal” with a gross weight of 217.15kg.

He further stated that the psychotropic substance, which was imported into the country from Pakistan, was smuggled through the airport tarmac using one of the vehicles of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) and was intercepted at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Personnel Yard.

Two suspects: Mr Ofijeh John Mowa, a SAHCO driver and Mr Nyam Gazu Alex, who is a security guard with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) were initially arrested in connection with the seizure.

Further investigations by NDLEA operatives, however, led to the arrest of five other persons involved in the crime including the ringleader, Mr Yunana Fidelis, who fled Lagos to Kaduna the moment their lid was blown open. Others include Mr Adesanwo Temitope; Mr Owoseni Taiwo Temidayo; Mr Fasoranti Shola and Mr Bamigbade Jonathan.

According to the disclosure, Mr Fidelis who is also a staff of NACHO had escaped and fled to Kaduna after depositing N19.8 million cash with a Bureau de Change operator to be paid later into his bank account.

After tracking him for days in Kaduna, on Friday, March 25, Mr Fidelis relocated to Abuja where he was eventually arrested by NDLEA operatives at 7 pm on Sunday 27th March while he was trying to collect N1 million cash from an undercover agent who posed as a BDC operator.

In addition to recovering the cash Fidelis deposited with the BDC operator in Lagos, the agency had also placed a post no debit order on his identified bank accounts.

Meanwhile, a professional methamphetamine (Mkpuru Mmiri) cook, Mr Reuben Bekweri, 34, has been arrested in Owerri while trying to distribute a kilogram of the illicit drug he cooked and packaged in seven nylon sachets in the Irete Area of Imo state capital on Saturday 26th March.

In Ado Ekiti, narcotic officers on Monday, March 28, also arrested a 42-year-old lawyer, Mr Mayowa Oluwanisomo, in Zone 4, Embassy Island, Moferere area of the Ekiti state capital following credible intelligence that he deals in psychotropic substances.

A total of 11, 570 tablets of Tramadol weighing 7.3kilograms were recovered from him when his residence was searched. He admitted ownership of the drug exhibits, adding that he graduated from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School in 2016.

In his commendation speech, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa commended the officers and men of MMIA, Imo and Ekiti state Commands for sustaining the offensive action against drug cartels in their respective areas of responsibility.

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