Nigeria’s anti-narcotics agency, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized cocaine worth $278 million on Monday, the biggest single drug bust in the country’s history, it said on Twitter on Monday.
They busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos State where 1.8tons (1,855kgs) of cocaine worth over $278,250,000, equivalent of about N194,775,000,000 in street value were seized.
Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said on Monday in Abuja that the seizures appears to be the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of agency’s operations.
According to him, at least, four drug barons including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager were arrested in the well coordinated and intelligence led operation that lasted two days across different locations in Lagos State.
“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.
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.
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.
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.