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Nigeria: NDLEA Clamps Down on Cartels Dealing in Cocaine, Fentanyl and Synthetic Cannabis

Nigeria: NDLEA Clamps Down on Cartels Dealing in Cocaine, Fentanyl and Synthetic Cannabis

West Africa has become a critical international drug smuggling hub, while at home substance abuse is getting out of hand in several countries in the region. This has prompted Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies to step up their ‘War Against Drugs’, leading to the recent break up of two major trafficking cartels.

Michael Olugbode, This Day

29 May 2024 at 10:00:00

This report was first pubished in Nigeria's This Day Newspaper on 29 May 2024.

Abuja — A married couple cocaine-trafficking cartel has been smashed by the operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

A statement released on 28 May 2024 by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, said multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drug were recovered in two major operations following the arrest of Bolanle Dauda and Olayinka Dauda, the kingpin and the queen of the cartel.

He revealed that the operations led to the smashing of the cartel which scope of operations spread across Lagos and Ogun States.

READ: Synthetic cannabis is the most common drug smuggled out of the West Africa Sahel

Babafemi disclosed that the duo were arrested on Saturday, 25 May 2024, by operatives of a special operation unit in NDLEA with the support of Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States. They were taken into custody at Ibiye, along the Lagos-Badagry expressway while attempting to cross the land border to deliver the consignment in Ghana.

He said at the point of their arrest, 42 blocks of the Class a drug weighing 47.5 kilogrammes were found on them, adding that a swift follow- up operation in their residence at Plot 24/25 OPIC extension, Petedo road, Agbara, Ogun state, led to the recovery of additional eight blocks of the same drug weighing 10 kilogrammes, bringing the total weight of the cocaine seized from the couple to 57.5 kilogrammes.

Babafemi said in another raid by the special operation unit, no fewer than 1,100 ampoules of lethal synthetic opioid, fentanyl, weighing 6.48 kilogrammes were recovered from a member of a drug trafficking syndicate, 34-year-old Ikeh Ifeanyi at the popular Idumota market in Lagos Island.

He said no less than 790 ampoules of the dangerous opioid weighing 5.273 kilogrammes were equally seized from another member of the fentanyl syndicate, 48-year-old Chieze Benjamin, who was also arrested at Idumota market. He noted that fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid, which is 100 times more potent than heroin is currently responsible for over 70 per cent overdose deaths as well as a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States.

READ: In the face of a growing substance abuse crisis, West Africa steps up 'War Against Drugs'

Babafemi disclosed that two other persons, Olayiwola Kazeem, 37, and Ogunfowora Ajibola, 35, were arrested on Lagos Island in a different raid by NDLEA officers with 432 grammes of methamphetamine recovered from them.

He said at the Tincan port in Lagos, NDLEA operatives last Saturday intercepted 15 parcels of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis weighing 7.5 kilogrammes concealed in the doors and body crevices of a Toyota Highlander SUV in a container marked MSMU 7294325, which was declared as containing three units of used vehicles including the Toyota Highlander originated from Toronto and shipped to Nigeria via Montreal, Canada.

He noted that a swift follow-up operation led to the arrest of two suspects, Sunday Sodade and Oriyomi Adesina, who were to receive the vehicle and the drug consignment, adding that a bribe of N6 million offered NDLEA officers by the sender of the container based in Canada through his agent has also been registered as exhibit for the prosecution of the case.

Meanwhile, Eugene Agha of the Daily Trust in Lagos reports on other cannabis crackdowns in Nigeria:

"A notorious smuggler who allegedly led his gang to attack officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the Badagry area of Lagos State, Samshudeen, is among 18 suspects arrested for their alleged involvement in a series of crimes in the area.

Customs Controller, Seme Command, Timi Bomodi, who confirmed his arrest during a press conference, said the suspect was a notorious smuggler whose reign of terror in the area came to an end recently.

He said 10 of the 18 were granted administrative bail, three were handed over to officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and one to the police, while four suspects were still in customs custody.

He said the command recovered a total of 12,448 jerry cans containing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and 1,251 parcels of hemp.

He further said, "We note that there has been a marked increase in the illegal importation of cannabis from Ghana and different methods have been used by criminals in their effort to beat our officers, all of which have been neutralised.

"Also, recently arrested is a notorious smuggler whose reign of terror in this area has come to an end and will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

"The command has also set up a complaints desk to address issues concerning the molestation of females on this corridor."


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