Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have aborted a plot by a Nigerian based in Johannesburg to smuggle 36.850kg of narcotic drugs to South Africa. The shipment was intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja during the outward screening of an Ethiopian Airline flight. The suspected substances hidden in his luggage were field tested and found to be methamphetamine weighing 17.700kg and ephedrine weighing 19.150kg with an estimated monetary value of 120 million naira.
NDLEA commander at Abuja airport, Mr. Hamisu Lawan said that few days after the arrest of Ilo Chidera Alex with 15.850kg of cocaine concealed inside make-up brushes from Sao Paulo enroute Dubai, the command has recorded the seizure of 36.850kg of methamphetamine and ephedrine.
“Drug traffickers are always experimenting with new routes all in a bid to evade arrest by law enforcement officers. By our record at this airport, South Africa is not a common route for drug traffickers. Mr. Okonkwo Isaac Ekemezie is a suspected member of a drug trafficking cartel in South Africa where he lives. His mission was to come to Nigeria to facilitate the exportation of 36.850kg of narcotic drugs to South Africa. That criminal action was however aborted because of the vigilance of our officers” Hamisu stated.
The commander said that the arrest of Okonkwo is similar to that of one Fred Chuka Obi, 49 years old found with 1.594kg of cocaine on his way to Tel Aviv which is not a normal route for drug traffickers.
Mr. Okonkwo Isaac Ekemezie who is 51 year old is currently assisting narcotic investigators with relevant information to track other members of the criminal group.
The NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade has reiterated his determination to dismantle drug trafficking cartels in the country. “In line with the NDLEA Act, we shall adopt measures such as coordinated preventive and repressive action against drug trafficking cartels. The NDLEA shall introduce investigative and control techniques aimed at preventing drugs from coming in or going out of the country at all entry and exit points” Giade stated.
The suspect will soon be charged to court.