NDLEA seizes consignment of heroin at Lagos airport

…Arrests 4

Adinnu Chinedu, one of the suspects


National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has seized a largest consignment of heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

Also, four members of an organised criminal organisation which specialises in trafficking heroin across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America were arrested.

Chairman of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Marwa (retd), who briefed newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, on the seizure and arrests, explained, “It started on February 10, 2024, when NDLEA operatives of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command intercepted a suspicious package at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal.

“The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines.

“Each carton was stocked with three blocks of high-grade heroin. In total, we recovered 45 blocks of the illicit substance with a total weight of 49.70kg.

“After the discovery, we were methodical and meticulous in our investigations. We started with the arrest of the freight agent whose name is Olowolagba Babatunde.

Ajayi Moses and Olowolagba Babatunde, some of the suspects


“It turned out that he was hired for clearing services by Mattpee Logistics, a company operated by one Mr. Kola resident in South Africa.

“Next, we conducted a follow up operation at the company’s warehouse in the Shogunle area of Oshodi, Lagos, and arrested the warehouse manager, whose name is Ajayi Moses.

READ ALSO: N2.17bn money laundering: EFCC closes case against Obadina

“Thereafter, we set up an ambush for the expected receiver of the consignment who was duly arrested when he showed up for collection.

“This receiver, whose name is Adinnu Chinedu, confessed during interrogation, that he is the main distributor for a drug syndicate whose membership is spread across Nigeria.

Igboanugo Thankgod, one of the suspects

“He admitted that he usually conveyed the consignment to a dedicated warehouse located in Ayobo. That place served as a workshop where he would dismantle the consignment and remove the drugs from the machines.


“Thereafter, he would wait for a list of various recipients to be forwarded to him from South Africa by the head of the criminal group.

“Our operatives did due diligence by conducting a thorough search of the warehouse which led to the recovery of 56 similar cartons of the cutting machines that were used previously as modes of concealment to ferry heroin into Nigeria.

“At this point, it was clear that we are dealing with a syndicate that operates in other countries.

“By the time, we were done exploring various leads we had, we unravelled an organised criminal network that operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria and parts of Europe and America.

“This syndicate has a wide network in Nigeria because the consignments we seized were marked with several codenames, showing that they belonged to different members of this organised criminal group.

READ ALSO: 31 internet fraudsters jailed in Enugu, Awka

“Furthermore, in our follow-up operation, we uncovered from the suspect a long list of receivers of illicit drugs.

“In the end, we were able to identify the kingpin of the syndicate here in Nigeria and his name is Reginald Chidiebere.

“Our investigations showed that he owns the Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite, located at 16 Reginald Chidiebere Street, Hope Estate, Ago Palace.”

Marwa said several days of surveillance on the hotel culminated in a raid operation on February 19, in which another drug mule, Igboanugo Thankgod, was found in possession of two parcels of 2.2kg heroin with codes similar to the ones found on the seized drug shipment, bringing the total seizure to 51.90 kilograms.

“He readily confessed that he was invited by Mr. Reginald Chidiebere to the hotel on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

“He was lodged in one of the rooms and was later summoned by the receptionist to meet a guest, from whom Reginald Chidiebere had informed him over the phone to receive a package. This sequence of action was confirmed by a review of the CCTV at the hotel.”

He explained that pre-emptive actions so far taken against members of the syndicate include freezing a total of 107 bank accounts associated with 14 members of the cartel as well as N119,582,928.31 found in some of the already traced bank accounts.

He added that the hotel and a mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Nigeria, Reginald Chidiebere and another mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Mozambique, Festus Ibewuike located in Ago Palace area had already been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

He said the measure yielded further fruit on February 22, when a female member of the syndicate and wife of Festus Ibewuike, Mrs. Confidence Ndidiamaka, Ibewuike, who is one of those to collect part of the consignment from Adinnu Chinedu, was arrested at Ago Palace area on last Thursday.

READ ALSO: FG more interested in officials than hungry Nigerians -Peter Obi

“When they were brought face to face, he (Chinedu) immediately identified her as one of the members of the criminal syndicate who had received similar packages of heroin with the syndicate’s logo from him on two different occasions.

“Though she denied knowing Adinnu or receiving anything from him before, investigation later revealed how her husband identified as Ibewuike, who is a top kingpin and currently residing in Mozambique used to send drug consignments to her through Chinedu.

“With pictorial evidence of different parcels with different codes and using other methodologies, we were able to confirm several instructions from her husband to her regarding illicit drug shipments already collected before.

“A search was promptly conducted in their residence located at the Ago Palace area, Festac Town, where a Toyota Venza car was recovered as well as several documents including, bank and property documents belonging to Festus Ibewuike.”

“Their mansion in Ago Palace area has also been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

As part of efforts to ensure all those involved are brought to book, Marwa assured that

“NDLEA has shared comprehensive intelligence with our South African counterparts for necessary action regarding the other members of the group living in that country.”

He added, “there is a parallel between this seizure and the September 18, 2022, seizure of 2,139.5kg cocaine in an Ikorodu warehouse.

“That was the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of NDLEA. This present bust is the largest single heroin seizure at the MMIA so far.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *