At the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) intercepted a shipment of 26.150 kilograms of heroin with a street value of over 6.5 billion dollars.
The illicit drugs arrived in Lagos in 25 parcels via an Air Peace Airline flight on June 30 and were detained for screening due to suspicions about the contents of the consignment, according to NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi in a statement released on Sunday.
The following day, narcotics officers from the MMIA command trailed the driver and a clearing agent who were assigned to deliver the consignment to the house of a baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu at No. 132 Lateef Adegboyega Street, off Ago palace way by Grandmate bus stop Okota, Lagos.
Tony Chidi Onwurolu, who had clearly mounted counter-surveillance around his neighborhood during the follow-up operation, fled his home before the arrival of the team of operatives who stormed his residence. They were able to search his home and recover a number of documents that helped them figure out who he was.
As a result of the development, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has ordered that the fleeing drug baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu, be declared wanted immediately and his details submitted to Interpol for global tracking. As a result, he ordered the Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations, as well as the Directorate of Intelligence, to deploy their networks in order to expedite Onwurolu’s arrest.
Because of the amount of heroin brought into the country by the fleeing baron, Marwa said the agency would use all available mechanisms, both locally and internationally, to track him down and bring him to justice.
“We have tracked down those who have been on the run for ten years, and some for five years, and they are now facing charges and cooling their heels behind bars. The latest one will be no different, because he can only run but not hide for long before we catch him,” Marwa explained.
Similarly, the Command’s operatives seized 4.3 kilograms of skunk imported from Canada. The package, which arrived on Ethiopian Airlines, was hidden among nine cereal packs.
NDLEA operatives also intercepted one Babatunde Usman Omogbolahan Bakare with 550 grams of cannabis and 50 grams of Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) concealed in six jerry cans of local herbal mixtures known as Gabo at SAHCO export shed, MMIA, Ikeja on July 9.
During the outward clearance of cargo bound for Dubai, the drug was discovered.
On Tuesday, July 6, MMIA Command operatives conducted a follow-up operation at Gate 2, Ladipo Oluwole Street, Ikeja, opposite the Guinness Bottling Company, where one Animashaun Kabiru was apprehended for questioning about a bag containing bitter cola that was brought for export to the UK.
“When the bag of bitter kola was searched, it was discovered that the bitter kola had been mixed with some wraps of an unknown substance. Thirty-six wraps of the suspected substance were later found to contain 600 grams of cocaine, according to an NDLEA spokesman.
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In a related development, an Uber driver, Lawal Tunde Rasheed, who was arrested on June 8 in connection with the seizure of a cocaine consignment has been released after his cooperation led to the arrest of the real owner of the drug, Mr. Egbo Emmanuel Maduka, who accepted ownership of the consignment and absolved Lawal of any complicity in his statement.
While praising the officers and men of the Agency’s MMIA Command for recent seizures and arrests, Gen. Marwa warned them not to rest on their laurels, saying, “We must all remain fully prepared and proactive at all times if we are to bring this scourge to a halt.”