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NDLEA declares India-based Nigerian couple wanted for running drug cartel

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has dismantled a drug cartel in Lagos, arresting four members and declaring a couple wanted.

The agency recovered a Sports Utility Vehicle and sealed two houses linked to the syndicate for potential forfeiture to the federal government.

The wanted couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade, also known as Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun, and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade, also known as Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke, are accused of running a cocaine cartel from India.

NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, detailed the arrests: “Two members of the syndicate, Imran Taofeek Olalekan and Ishola Isiaka Olalekan, were picked up on April 3, 2024, as they attempted to export 3.40kg of cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight to Oman through Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja, Lagos. While Imran was the courier, Ishola recruited him for the cartel head, Alhaji Kazeem Owoalade, who resides in India under the name Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun.”

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Babafemi explained the investigation’s progress: “Efforts to dismantle the network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations. Another syndicate member, Hamed Abimbola Saheed, who works directly with the baron, was arrested on Tuesday, May 14, at Abule Egba area of Lagos. Saheed lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.”

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During a search of Saheed’s house, NDLEA operatives found 900 grams of phenacetine, a cocaine cutting agent.

“Hamed confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested,” Babafemi said.

The operation extended to the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos. “Another suspect was arrested, and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat was recovered, along with an additional 400 grams of cocaine, prepared suitcases for drug concealment, digital weighing scales, and other paraphernalia,” Babafemi added.

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Additionally, on Wednesday, May 15, NDLEA officials intercepted two parcels containing cocaine and amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter at a courier firm in Lagos.

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