The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a Brazil-based drug kingpin after its operatives intercepted 36 blocks of cocaine with a street value of over N8 billion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.
The agency also seized the sum of $24,500 bribe offered by the accused to compromise investigations. NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, said the kingpin, Ejiofor Enwereaku, who leads a syndicate, was arrested at the airport on Friday, May 14, 2021, for importing 27.95kg of cocaine using their organised criminal gang, which specialises in tagging and planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage.
The statement reads: “Based on intelligence, narcotic agents at the MMIA had, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, intercepted a bag that arrived the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil, via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the Ethiopian Airline with baggage tag No- ET331199, but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight and the bag was secured by NDLEA operatives for investigation.
“On Sunday, May 9, 2021, a man came to the airport to make inquiry on how to get the disclaimed bag released. He was promptly arrested for investigation.
“The disclaimed bag was opened in the presence of the arriving passenger and the man who came to negotiate the release of the disputed bag. When it was opened, it was found that the bag contained 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95kg.”
According to the statement, the follow-up sting operation was carried out, which led to the arrest of Ejiofor Enwereaku, the prime suspect, on Friday, May14, upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian airline.
It further stated that during preliminary interrogation after his arrest, Enwereaku confessed to have been contracted by his Ethiopian associate, who is a notorious drug baron, to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos, Nigeria.
“He further admitted to have paid the $24,500 bribe in three tranches to compromise NDLEA officers. The first was $10,000 delivered through his representative in Lagos and another $10,000 via his First Bank account while the third tranche of $4,500 was paid at the point of his arrest.
“His group is suspected to be responsible for recruiting traffickers to move illicit drugs to various destinations using Nigeria as their transit location and also planting drugs in the luggage of innocent travellers.”
Impressed by the outcome of the operation closely monitored by him, Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Mohamed Buba Marwa, commended the MMIA commander of the agency, Ahmadu Garba, his officers and men for their diligence and resilience in following up every lead in the case until the kingpin was entrapped and arrested.
“I have warned that we’ll henceforth not only go after the traffickers, but the cartels and the kingpins who operate them. The latest arrest is a clear confirmation that we’ll match our words with action and that we’ll come for those who will not back out of the criminal trade, wherever they are hiding, pushing instruments of death through our borders to destroy the lives of our youths,” Marwa stated.