Uncovers 3 laboratories
Suspect’s couriers jailed in China, Turkey, Malaysia
By Evelyn Usman
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested a popular businessman (names withheld), alleged to be leader of an international drug trafficking organisation, who recruits and sponsors couriers to China, Malaysia, Turkey and Italy.
The arrest of the 37-year-old suspect reportedly followed the agency’s discovery of three laboratories used for the illegal production of methamphetamine in his home town in Anambra State.
Addressing journalists yesterday on the arrest described as the latest outstanding operational success recorded by the anti-narcotic agency, the Chairman/Chief Executive, NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, disclosed that surveillance indicated that the suspect shuttled between his country home and Isolo, Lagos State, residence.
He said: “He hides under the cover of motorcycle parts business in running a drug cell that has international affiliation.
“He specialises in recruiting and sponsoring drug couriers to China, Malaysia and Turkey. He also pays his couriers an average of $5,000 per trip.
“The suspect has two Nigeria international passports and one Ghanaian passport, all bearing his photographs with different names. Two other passports belonging to suspected drug couriers were also seized.
“He hired one Raphael, who is a professional methanphetamine cook to work for him. He pays him N500,000 for his service and N700,000 for the purchase of precursor chemicals per production circle.
“The production capacity per cycle is 14kg. As a result of the indicting surveillance report, he was arrested in his home country.”
During a search of one of the suspect’s laboratories at his house, 2.615kg of liquid methamphetamine, according to Giade, was found inside a yellow plastic jug, with another 250grammes of crystallized methamphetamine concealed in a white transparent polythene bag.
Methamphetamine laboratory equipment, which include one approximate volume measuring scale, six heating filters, six giant conical flasks and industrial tubes and cups of sodium hydroxide, were also recovered.
Others are containers of iodine, acetone, hydrochloric acid, weighing scale, masks and hand gloves among others.
Giade said: “Also recovered from him are paraphernalia for drug concealment, similar to the ones seized with drugs at the airports and land borders.
“They include an electronic weighing scale, assorted artefacts, laptop bags, motorcycle parts, air compressors, bus and truck mirrors, araldite and paint, processed brown envelopes and impulse sealer.
“Others are transparent packing nylon and carbon paper, tower foil paper, needles, threads, super glue and many more.”
He further stated that while surveillance on the suspect was ongoing, operatives intercepted 23kg of methamphetamine along Badagry Expressway, Lagos, en-route Cotonou, which was allegedly traced to the suspect.
Giade stated that the agency had traced some of the assets believed to be purchased with proceeds from drugs.
He said: “These included over 16 bank accounts in different banks, a piece of land located at Joy Avenue, Ajao Estate, which he reportedly bought in 2009 for N25 million and rebuilt in 2012 to a three-storey building at N90 million.
“He also bought a property at St. James Close, Ajao Estate, for 17 million and built a five-bedroom duplex on it at the cost of N25 million. He has a Toyota Venza, a Peugeot 406, a Q5 Audi four runner, and a Toyota Sienna SUV.”
The suspect is reportedly standing trial at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in respect of the seizures, Giade said, adding that some couriers sponsored by him have also been arrested, with some of them in prison custody in China, Turkey and Malaysia.