NDLEA detains 2 alleged drug barons, arrests others for ingesting 175 wraps of heroin


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has detained two wanted alleged heads of transnational criminal organisations with multi-billion naira worth of illicit drugs and assets seized from them.

A statement on Sunday by the NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi said the arrest of the suspected drug lords came on the heels of the interception of some consignments of cocaine and heroin.

Babafemi said the drugs were buried in the bellies of two traffickers heading to Paris, France and Doha, Qatar. They were arrested by NDLEA officers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.

He said that operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, on October 10 succeeded in taking into custody, Hakeem Salami.

He added that the suspect was the alleged arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation” involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics.

This, he said, included cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine which were traded between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.

According to him, the suspect fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Oba, at the Lagos airport on Aug. 25 over attempt to export 25.10kgs of ephedrine to South Africa.

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

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

“In his statement, he claimed he was into the importation of building materials from China to Nigeria and used to sell gold in South Africa before delving into the illicit drug trade about two years ago,” he said.

In the same vein, Babafemi said that the head of another cartel, Ikechukwu Okafor (aka Jantu) and his wife, Ifeyinwa Okafor were also taken into custody on Oct. 5.

This, he said, was when NDLEA operatives raided their hideout at 9 Awa Street, Ago Palace, Okota area of Lagos.

He said that the NDLEA operatives recovered 27.566 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia.

“Their Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY parked in the house was also seized during the operation.

“Their arrest followed weeks of intelligence gathering about the activities of the criminal network, ” he said.

However, at the Abuja airport, operatives on Oct. 6 arrested a suspected drug trafficker, Nwofor Ejiogu, 45, during the outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight QR 1432 to Doha.

Babafemi said that after body scan revealed he ingested cocaine, he was placed under observation during which he allegedly excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653kgs.

“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, Oct. 7, another trafficker, Nwufo Charles, 45, was also arrested while attempting to board Lufthansa Airlines flight LH 0595 to Paris, France via Frankfurt, Germany.

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