NDLEA finds N1.5bn worth of cocaine in new footwears

A 34-year-old motorcycle parts dealer has been arrested by anti-narcotics agents with 9.150kg of cocaine, which were concealed in the soles of foot wears being imported into the country.

The arrest of the Enugu State-born suspect, identified as Okolo Emenike, was made, weekend, during the inward screening of passengers on a Turkish airline flight from Brazil, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Commander at the Abuja Airport, Hamisu Lawan, explained that the discovery of the drugs, with an estimated value of £3.8 million which is close to N1.5 billion was the last arrest made in year 2016.

Lawan said: “The discovery was made in a shipment of shoes during inward screening of passengers on a Turkish airline flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The cocaine was industrially concealed in the soles of new foot wears.”

During interrogation, Emenike, a father of one, disclosed that he was offered N1 million to smuggle the drugs into Nigeria. He explained that he was forced to leave the shores of Nigeria for Brazil in search of greener pastures, when his business was experiencing a down turn, owing to recession.

However, on reaching Brazil, Emenike said, “things became worse for me as I could not get a job. I had no money to sustain myself while my work permit was being processed.

“I was equally confronted with the fear of deportation. This made me desperate for quick wealth. In the process, I met my childhood friend, who offered me N1million to traffic cocaine to Nigeria.

“He also paid for my ticket and gave me three bags of shoes containing the cocaine. But on arrival at the Abuja airport, the cocaine was detected and I was arrested. I had wanted to invest money offered to me in my business that failed due to recession.”

Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) who commended his men for the arrest, stated that the huge profit derived from drug trafficking had made it a top priority for drug cartels to be financially incapacitated.

He said: “We must continue to take deliberate steps to intercept drugs and ultimately prevent the criminal enrichment of drug cartels. Illicit drug proceeds negatively affect economic development; it could be used to corrupt government officials and for terrorism funding thereby subjecting mankind to widespread destruction.”

Describing the arrest and subsequent seizure as one of the benefits of training, Abdalla said: “The seizure is a validation of enhanced capacity of officers due to series of training programmes carried out by the agency.

“The training, covering investigation, raid operations as well as prosecution, was conducted with the assistance of the United States government, European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

“This is just a tip of the iceberg, because as the benefits of these training begin to manifest, more drugs shall be detected and cartels dislodged in the days ahead.”

The NDLEA boss, therefore, appealed to stakeholders to intensify the anti-narcotic campaign, adding that the suspect would be charged to court soon.

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