Airport Drug Syndicate: NDLEA Nabs 5

*Recovers N19.8m Cash from Ring Leader
*Grabs Mkpuru Mmiri Cook in Imo, Lawyer in Ekiti

NDLEA operatives have nabbed a fleeing drug kingpin heading a syndicate operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos. He was arrested alongside six other members of his gang following a string of fresh offensives against drug cartels across Nigeria.

The Lagos airport drug syndicate is behind the smuggling of 1, 584,000 tablets of Tramadol seized on Tuesday, March 15, by NDLEA operatives in collaboration with Aviation Security, AVSEC, and Customs service personnel at the airport. The seizure includes 17 cartons of 250mg, Tramadol branded as “Tamra” and lweighing 669.70kg and five cartons of 225mg Tramadol under the brand name “Royal” with a gross weight of 217.15kg.

The psychotropic substance, imported into the country from Pakistan, was smuggled through the airport tarmac using one of the vehicles of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company, SAHCO, but was intercepted at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Personnel Yard.

Two suspects, Ofijeh John Mowa, a SAHCO driver and Nyam Gazu Alex, a security guard with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, were initially arrested in connection with the seizure. However, further investigations by the agency led to the arrest of five other persons involved in the crime, including the ringleader, Yunana Fidelis, who fled Lagos to Kaduna the moment their lid was blown open. Others include Adesanwo Temitope, Owoseni Taiwo Temitayo, Fasoranti Shola and Bamigbade Jonathan.

Yunana Fidelis, who is also a staff of NACHO had escaped and fled to Kaduna after depositing N19.8m cash with a BDC operator to be paid later into his bank account.

After tracking him for days in Kaduna, Fidelis relocated to Abuja on Friday, March 25, where he was eventually arrested by NDLEA operatives at 7pm on Sunday, March 27, while trying to collect N1m cash from an undercover agent who posed as a BDC operator.

In addition to recovering the cash Fidelis deposited with the BDC operator in Lagos, the agency had also placed a post No-debit order on his identified bank accounts.

NDLEA agents have also arrested a professional methamphetamine, Mkpuru Mmiri, cook and a lawyer in Owerri, Imo state and Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state respectively. The Mkpuru Mmiri cook, Reuben Bekweri, 34, was arrested in Owerri while trying to distribute 1kg of the illicit drug he cooked and packaged in seven nylon sachets in the Irete Area of Imo state capital on Saturday, March 26.

In Ado Ekiti, narcotic officers arrested a 42-year-old lawyer, Mr. Mayowa Oluwanisomo, on Monday, March 28, in Zone 4, Embassy Island, Moferere area of the Ekiti state capital, following credible intelligence that he deals in psychotropic substances. A total of 11, 570 tablets of Tramadol weighing 7.3kg were recovered from him when his residence was searched.

He admitted ownership of the drug exhibits, adding that he graduated from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and Abuja campus of the Nigerian Law School in 2016.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa, Retd, has since commended the officers and men of MMIA, Imo and Ekiti state Commands for sustaining the offensive action against drug cartels in their respective areas of responsibility.

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