The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has raised the alarm that drug cartels are gradually changing their modus operandi by turning to African in sourcing narcotics like heroin.
This was disclosed in a statement by NDLEA on Tuesday, while announcing the arrest at the Lagos airport, of two suspects attempting to transport 6.390 kilogrammes of substances that tested positive for heroin.
Cajetan Egwin, a commercial tricycle rider in Owerri, was caught on arrival from Kigali, Rwanda while King Sunday, an Abuja based trader, was nabbed on his way back from Nairobi, Kenya.
The drug with an estimated street value of N575 million was hidden in their luggage, the NDLEA said.
Ahmadu Garba, NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport., said both suspects are currently under investigation.
“Both suspects were also recruited for a fee to import the drugs into the country,” said Mr. Garba.
“Egwin Cajetan Chinedu who is not married said that he needed money to repair his commercial tricycle while King Sunday who left his wife after four days of marriage on the guise of a business trip said that he needed money for his honeymoon and business.”
Mr. Egwin, who was allegedly in possession of 3.9kg of heroin, told NDLEA investigators that he needed money to change the engine of his tricycle.
“The engine of my tricycle which is my only source of livelihood is bad,” said Mr. Egwin, 32.
“While I was looking for money to fix it, I was introduced to the man that promised to pay me the sum of N400,000 on the condition that I will bring his drug from Kigali. I accepted the offer because nobody was willing to help me.
“I dropped out of school in Junior Secondary class two. Apart from the repairs, my rent is due and my landlord had been asking for his money.”
Mr. Sunday, allegedly in possession of 2.49kg of heroin, said he regretted his decision to take part in drug trafficking, according to the NDLEA.
“My thinking was that I could smuggle the drug from Nairobi in two days without my wife knowing that I travelled out of the country,” said Mr. Sunday, 38.
“All my life, I have been upright in my transactions but this is a huge mistake and I regret my action.”
Muhammad Abdallah, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, expressed satisfaction with the arrest stressing that drug traffickers are now turning to African countries to smuggle heroin that is produced in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Thailand and other far away countries.
“The Agency successfully foiled their plan with the arrest and seizure of the drugs,” said Mr. Abdallah, a retired colonel.
“Drug cartels thought it would be easy to smuggle the drugs into the country since heroin is not produced in Africa but I am happy that we are thinking far ahead of them. The Agency will continue to maintain this lead until they are completely dislodged.”
The NDLEA said the suspects would be arraigned soon.