The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA said it has made what appears to be the biggest cocaine bust in Nigeria’s history.
Some 1.8 tons (1,855 kg) of cocaine estimated to be worth more than $278m (£243m) or over N194.77b on the black market were discovered in a warehouse in the Ikorodu area, north-east of the commercial hub, Lagos.
This was disclosed in a press release issued by Femi Babafemi, Director, Media & Advocacy NDLEA Headquarters Abuja Monday 19th September 2022.
The drugs were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums, said the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Four Nigerian men aged 69, 65, and two 53-year-olds were arrested in different parts of Lagos.
A foreign national was also detained, in what the agency said was a “well coordinated and intelligence led operation” conducted over two days.
Babafemi said “In what appears to be the biggest single cocaine seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotics agency, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, where 1.8tons (1,855 kilograms) of the illicit drug worth more than Two Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($278,250,000) equivalent of about One Hundred and Ninety Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy Five Million (N194,775,000,000) Naira in street value”
“Kingpins of the cocaine cartel in custody include: Messrs Soji Jibril, 69, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, who hails from Ekwulobia, Anambra State; Wasiu Akinade, 53, from Ibadan, Oyo State; Sunday Oguntelure, 53, from Okitipupa, Ondo State and Kelvin Smith, 42, a native of Kingston, Jamaica.
“They are all members of an international drug syndicate that the agency has been trailing since 2018,” Babafemi said.
He added that the drug barons reasonable for the cocaine were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos.
He said “Located at 6 Olukuola crescent, Solebo estate, Ikorodu, the warehouse was raided on Sunday 18th September, 2022, while the barons were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and Monday 19th September.”
The agency’s head, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), praised his officers, who worked with their US counterparts in the operation.
“The bust is a historical blow to the drug cartels and a strong warning that they’ll all go down if they fail to realise that the game has changed,” a statement from the agency quoted him as saying.