Detectives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have stopped the illicit exportation of 26.2kg of ephedrine to Tanzania.
The ephedrine, hidden inside female footwears, was detected at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos during search operations.
Anti-narcotic officials swiftly arrested an electrician in connection with the illegal shipment. Two other suspected drug traffickers, one exporting 305 grammes of cocaine to Cambodia and another importing 1.370kg of cocaine from Sierra Leone, were also apprehended, as the agency seized 27.875kg of drugs, comprising 26.2kg ephedrine and 1.675kg of cocaine.
According to the NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, the suspects would soon be charged to court. “The suspected drug traffickers are Ogujiuba Zaccheus, 48, an electrician, caught exporting 26.6kg of ephedrine to Tanzania; Uchegbu Emeka, 33, a textile merchant, smuggling 305 grammes of cocaine to Cambodia and Okafor Emeka, 28, an automobile parts dealer, caught importing 1.370kg of cocaine from Sierra Leone.
“All the cases are being investigated and will appear in court soon,” he stated.“The suspects, in their statements, have adduced various reasons for smuggling narcotics.”
Zaccheus said he was introduced into the illicit trade by an old-time friend, adding: “I am married with six children and I reside in Abia, where I work as an electrician.
“The ephedrine was carefully hidden inside female shoes and given to me by an old-time friend. He told me to take the drug to Lagos and handle the shipping arrangements to Tanzania.
“Unfortunately, I was arrested during examination of the consignment after the drug was discovered. I regret ever getting involved in drug trafficking,” Ogujiuba stated.
Uchegbu, from Anambra State, who inserted seven wraps of cocaine into his anus in a bid to evade arrest, blamed his involvement on joblessness.
“I am a textile merchant, but today I am jobless. I lost everything due to economic recession and family problems. That was why I agreed to collect the sum of N800, 000 to smuggle cocaine to Cambodia.
“My intention was to invest the money in legitimate business,” he stated. Okafor, from Enugu State, said he needed money to get his own shop and expand his business.
“I am an automobile parts dealer in Lagos, but I have no shop. I only wanted to get enough money to rent a shop and invest in my business. “My love for money made me to ingest 69 wraps of cocaine 1.370kgs in Sierra Leone,” he said.
Chairman of the NDLEA, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, assured the public that the agency would always ensure that offenders are severely sanctioned to deter others from engaging in drug trafficking.
“The agency will continue to work very hard in ensuring the certainty of commensurate punishment for all drug culprits in line with the NDLEA Act,” Abdallah stated.
He added that investing proceeds of drug trafficking in legitimate businesses is money laundering and that the agency would invoke relevant sections of the law against offenders.