By Ibironke Ariyo, Abuja.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says its operatives have busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in the Ikorodu neighbourhood of Lagos State, where packages of “crack” (a modified form of cocaine), worth over N194 billion, were seized.
The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the street value of the illicit drugs, which weighed 1,855 kilogrammes, was over Two Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($278, 250,000).
Babafemi said that this was an equivalent of about One Hundred and Ninety-Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Five Million (N194,775,000,000).
The NDLEA spokesperson said that the seizures appeared to be “the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency”.
According to him, at least, four drug barons, including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager, have been arrested.
“This was done in a well-coordinated and intelligence-led operation that lasted two days across different locations in Lagos State.
“Kingpins of the cocaine cartel are in custody; they are all members of an international drug syndicate that the agency has been trailing since 2018,” Babafemi said.
He said that the warehouse, raided by the NDLEA operatives on Sept.18, was located in Solebo Estate, Ikorodu.
The NDLEA spokesperson said that the barons were picked from their hotels and hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and Monday morning.
“Preliminary investigation reveals the class ‘A’ drugs were warehoused in the residential estate, from where the cartel was trying to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.
“They were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums,” he said.
Babafemi quoted the NDLEA Chairman, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, as commending all the officers and men of the agency involved in the extensive investigation.
He similarly lauded the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (U.S-DEA), which was also involved in the investigation.
Marwa described the operation as a monumental blow to the drug cartels and a strong warning to others.
“They will all go down, if they failed to realise that the game had changed,” he warned.