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NDLEA Declares Couple Wanted, Arrests 4 Cartel Members Over Cocaine Seizures

Nigeria’s drug enforcement agency has Intercepted cocaine bound for China and amphetamines bound for the UK.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has declared a couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke) wanted over involvement in running a drug cartel.

According to a statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, the married couple was declared wanted following the arrest of four members of their syndicate in Lagos where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses already traced to them sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

Babafemi said two members of the syndicate: Imran Olalekan and Ishola Olalekan were arrested on April 3, 2024 following their bid to export 3.4 kilogrammes cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

He said while Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun  based in India.

He revealed that efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed who works directly with the baron was arrested last Tuesday at Abule Egba area of Lagos. He added that it was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.

He disclosed that during a search of Saheed house, NDLEA operatives recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grammes. He confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested.

Saheed’s arrest led to a follow up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia,

He added that NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) attached to a courier firm in Lagos last Wednesday intercepted two parcels, containing cocaine and amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter. While the cocaine weighing 587 grammes, was concealed in eight steel bolt screws going to China, the amphetamine
consignment packed in vape pens and hidden in shea butter was going to the United Kingdom.

He said attempt by Emeka Nwadiaro  (a.k.a Mega) to export 3.6 kilgrammes Loud, a strain of cannabis concealed in 36 water flasks to Dubai, UAE was also thwarted at a logistic company in Port Harcourt, Rivers state last Thursday while a swift follow up operation led to the arrest of the owner of the consignment, Emeka Nwadiaro in Onitsha, Anambra state same day.

He said NDLEA operatives in Lagos intercepted a mercedes benz bus loaded with 840 kilogrammes cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, at Olojo in Ojo LGA, Lagos, another suspect, Lawal Adam was nabbed along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state last Friday with 75,000 pills of opioids including tramadol and exol-5. Two suspects: Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25,  were arrested along Owerri – Onitsha road, Imo state following the discovery by NDLEA operatives of a big gas cyclinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85 kilogrammes.

In Borno state, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested at Mbulamel, Biu local government area last Thursday with 2 kilogrammes cannabis and 33.55 grammes of diazepam, while Gaddafi Sani, 27, was arrested with 30 kilogrammes of cannabis along Abuja-Kaduna road, Kaduna.

In Yobe state, a consignment of 91.1 kilogrammes opioids and 13 kilogrammes cannabis going to Maiduguri, Borno state, was recovered from hidden compartments of a petrol tanker along Potiskum-Damaturu road by NDLEA officers who arrested the driver, Ismaila Ali.

He said no less than four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials intercepted in a Toyota hummer bus marked AGL 905 XX by NDLEA officers along Agaie – Lapai road, Niger state. While the duo of Abdulrauf Adeyemi, 46, and Asmiyu Rahim, 45, conyeying the IED materials were arrested on the spot, follow up operations led to the arrest of Husaini Abdullahi, 25, at Sokoto main market, Sokoto and Nazifi Abdullahi, 37, at Naibawa Motor Park, Kano last Friday.

Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed that all four suspects and the explosive materials be transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. In another operation, Muhammad Lawal, 42, was nabbed at Central Market Motor Park, Katsina State with 1,000 ampoules of pentazocine injection.

A total of 105 kilogrammes cannabis was last Friday recovered from a house at Obola community, Owan West local government area, Edo state and a suspect, Gloria Oris arrested when NDLEA officers raided the area. In Kwara state, two suspects:  Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were on Saturday 18th May arrested with 83 kilogrammes cannabis and tramadol at Boriya, Baruten local government area and Offa respectively.

He noted that with the same vigour, the various commands of the Agency across the country continued with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign in the past week.

While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Imo, and Edo Commands of the Agency as well as those of DOGI for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) said the efforts have further affirmed the cardinal role of NDLEA in the security architecture of the country. He equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures to create a fair balance between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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