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NDLEA arrests two wanted drug barons with drugs worth billions

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency announced the successful detention of two wanted heads of transnational criminal organizations involved in illicit drug trafficking, along with the seizure of multi-billion-naira worth of illegal drugs and assets.

The arrests came after weeks of intelligence-led operations across Nigeria and internationally according to a statement issued on Sunday by Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy.

NDLEA reported that the apprehension of these wanted drug lords was preceded by the interception of shipments containing cocaine and heroin concealed in the bodies of two traffickers who were bound for Paris, France, and Doha, Qatar.

These interceptions occurred at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

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Femi Babafemi stated “Operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos on Tuesday 10th October succeeded in taking into custody, Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organization.”

Salami was involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine, across countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.

He had fled to South Africa when a member of his syndicate was arrested at the Lagos airport, attempting to export ephedrine to South Africa.

NDLEA stated “Hakeem Babatunde Salami was however smoked out of hiding through partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms.

“While some of his luxury vehicles have been seized and his home in Surulere Lagos sealed, other members of the cartel already in custody include Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew”

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In a related operation, Okafor Ikechukwu Williams, also known as “Jantu,” and his wife, Okafor Ifeyinwa Grace, were apprehended in Lagos.

NDLEA operatives raided their hideout, discovering a significant quantity of methamphetamine, which was concealed and ready for export to Europe and Asia. Additionally, their Lexus RX350 vehicle was seized during the operation.

The statement further described the arrest of drug traffickers at the Abuja airport, highlighting two cases where individuals ingested cocaine and heroin.

In one instance, a passenger offered a bribe of $3,000 to an NDLEA officer to secure his release.

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Furthermore, NDLEA operatives intercepted a commercial bus traveling from Lagos to Kano along the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja expressway. They seized a substantial sum of money suspected to be counterfeits.

NDLEA continued its operations with the goal of reducing drug supply and conducted advocacy campaigns, including educational lectures, at various schools, markets, worship centers, and communities.

NDLEA’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the efforts of the agency’s commands across the country and the Special Operations Unit for their successful operations against drug cartels.

He expressed confidence that NDLEA officers and personnel would remain vigilant and dedicated to their mission, despite any challenges posed by criminal networks.

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