450.4kg of cocaine with a street value of over N4 billion has been seized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Announcing the seizure of the hard drugs, Mitchell Ofoyeju, spokesperson for the agency disclosed that the cocaine was discovered by the anti-narcotics organisation after it figured out the major drug syndicate that specialises in the unlawful smuggling of cocaine from South American countries to West Africa.
Ahmadu Giade, chief executive of the agency said that the cocaine was imported from Chile, and that some barons in the cartel including two Chinese nationals have been arrested alongside their clearing agent who is a Nigerian.
He described the seizure as a major breakthrough in the country’s counter narcotics efforts, adding that this is the second largest cocaine discovery at the Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos State.
“The entire operation was intelligence-based and professionally executed. This is the second largest seizure of cocaine next to the 14.2 tons made at the same port in 2006,” he said. “The quantity is frightening and the street value paints a horrendous picture of the illicit drug trade. Apart from the estimated street value in the country the value would have doubled in Europe. The seizure is exciting to us. It is also a wakeup call for all hands to be on deck.” The agency’s boss, however, assured that investigations are ongoing to get other members of the syndicate arrested, and that it had kept tab on the consignment which originated from Chile and passed through Peru, Bolivia and Antwerpen in Belgium before getting to Tin Can Island Port.
“The drug was neatly concealed in customized floor wood inside a container which was cleared and taken to a private warehouse at Iganmu, Lagos,” he said.
“The agency is determined to send all drug barons out of circulation to prevent criminal acts capable of disrupting peace and stability in the country. I have therefore called for total security alertness in all entry and exit points. State Commanders have also been placed on red alert to ensure effective surveillance and prompt arrests and seizures of any illicit drug shipment.” Meanwhile, the agency’s spokesperson said that the clearing agent of the consignment and other people closely linked to the seizure were also arrested to ascertain their level of involvement as all the clearing documents had fake addresses on them.
“Drug seizures at the ports are usually very large because of the relative ease of transporting containerised goods in vessels and the volume of imported containers,” said Mr. Ofoyeju.
BY OKECHUKWU NNODIM
July 27, 2010 12:08AM
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Agency arrests Chinese nationals over N4b cocaine