The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a passenger for attempting to smuggle out 23 wraps containing 34,000 dollars to Brazil.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju, Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, on Friday in Lagos.
The statement said the passenger, Ozoh Ikenna, was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, during screening of passengers on Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi.
It said the money was packed in wraps and concealed in Ikenna’s boxer shorts.
According to the statement, the NDLEA airport commander, Mr Ahmadu Garba, said that the arrest was facilitated with the aid of a scanning machine.
“The wraps of dollars found on Ikenna were detected with the aid of scanning machine.
“We also conducted a follow-up operation where Ogbo Emmanuel who gave Ozoh the 34,000 dollars was arrested,” the commander is quoted as saying.
The statement said investigation activities conducted by the NDLEA’s Assets and Financial Investigation Directorate revealed that the suspects were involved in the laundering of substantial amount of illicit drug proceeds.
“We were able to trace over N226 million to one bank account belonging to the second suspect, Ogbo Emmanuel.
“The account name is Eternal God International Limited,” the head of the directorate, Mrs Victoria Egbase, is quoted as saying.
According to the statement, it was also discovered that suspected drug proceeds were regularly deposited in the said bank account by members of an international drug cell that smuggles cocaine from South America to West Africa.
The statement quoted NDLEA’s Chairman, Mr Ahmadu Giade as saying that the agency is strategically targeting criminal wealth.
“Asset forfeiture is one of the effective ways of responding to organised crime threats; we are working assiduously to trace and confiscate criminal wealth of drug syndicates.
“Strategic efforts are on-going to prevent the entry of drug proceeds into legitimate economy and criminal financing,” Giade said in the statement.
The NDLEA boss assured members of the public that in view of the overwhelming evidence linking the money to narcotics, the agency would diligently prosecute the suspects.