Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have apprehended the resident pastor of the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim at Agodo-Egbe, Ikotun Lagos, over unlawful attempt to export of 174 kilogrammes of narcotic drugs to South Africa, the agency said on Monday.
NDLEA said the suspect, Prophet Michael Raji was arrested following the interception of the drug at the cargo section of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) during pre-shipment examination.
“Preliminary investigation has indicated that the 60 year old suspect Michael Raji is a suspected top member of a drug syndicate operating in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa,” NDLEA said.
The pastor had three international passports bearing his photographs.
“One of the passports bears the name Michael Raji while the other two bear the name Kadigun Fatah Ola. It was equally discovered that the church premises where he ministers also serves as a warehouse for narcotics,” NDLEA said.
The seized drugs concealed inside large bags of foodstuff were found to contain 91kg of Methamphetamine and 83kg of Ephedrine with an estimated street value of N609 million.
A Mercedes Benz Jeep was also impounded during the operation. NDLEA commander at the Lagos Airport, Mr. Hamza Umar described the suspect as a smooth operator.
“I can tell you that this suspect is a smooth operator but we have uncovered his bag of tricks. The drugs were brought to the airport for export to South Africa where it was detected. Investigation eventually traced the movement of the drugs to his church premises where he was arrested,” Hamza stated.
NDLEA quoted the suspect in his statement as saying that he collected the drugs from a friend.