The Punch

NDLEA intercepts N6.5bn drugs in Lagos, goes after fleeing baron

- Friday Olokor and Oluwatosin Omojuyigbe

suspected drug baron, Tony Onwurolu,hasbeendec­lared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcemen­t Agency as the agency recovered a consignmen­t of 26.150 kilogramme­s of heroin at the SAHCO shed of the Murtala

Mohammed Internatio­nal Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

It was gathered that the drug, with a street value of N6.5bn, arrived in Lagos on June 30, 2021, in 25 parcels from South Africa through a private Nigerian airline.

A statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday, said

the consignmen­t was detained for screening following reasonable suspicion of the content.

Babafemi stated that narcotic officers at the MMIA Command on July 1, 2021, trailed the driver and clearing agent assigned to deliver the consignmen­t to Onwurolu’s house on Lateef Adegboyega Street, off Ago Palace Way, by Grandmate Bus Stop, Okota, Lagos.

He said, “During the followup operation, Tony Chidi Onwurolu, who mounted counter-surveillan­ce around his neighbourh­ood, fled his home before the arrival of the team of operatives who stormed his residence. They were, however, able to search his home and recover a number of documents to establish his true identity.

“Following the developmen­t, the Chairman/chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd), has directed that the fleeing drug baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu, be declared wanted immediatel­y and his details submitted to Interpol for tracking across the world. He, therefore, directed the agency’s directorat­e of assets and financial investigat­ions, as well as the directorat­e of intelligen­ce, to deploy their networks to fast track the arrest of Onwurolu.

“Marwa said in view of the volume of heroin brought into the country by the fleeing baron, the agency would deploy all available mechanisms, locally and internatio­nally, to track him and bring him to face charges in a law court.”

• Some of the drugs Similarly, the agency said it intercepte­d a 4.3kg skunk concealed in nine packs of cereals and imported from Canada on an Ethiopian airline.

Operatives of the agency also intercepte­d one Babatunde Bakare on July 9 with 550 grams of cannabis and 50g of Rohypnol concealed in six jerrycans of local herbal mixtures called Gabo at SAHCO export shed, MMIA, Ikeja.

According to Babafemi, the drug was detected during the outward clearance of cargo going to Dubai.

Babafemi added, “Earlier on Tuesday, 6th July, operatives of the MMIA command conducted a follow-up operation at Gate 2, Ladipo Oluwole Street, opposite Guinness Bottling Company, Ikeja, where one Animashaun Kabiru was apprehende­d for questionin­g about a bag containing bitter cola, which was brought for export to the UK. When the bag of bitter kola was searched, it was discovered that the bitter kola was mixed with some wraps of a substance suspected to be an illicit drug. Thirty-six wraps of the suspected substance later tested positive for cocaine, weighing 600grams.

“In a related developmen­t, a Uber driver, Lawal Tunde Rasheed, arrested on 8th June in connection with the seizure of a cocaine consignmen­t, has been let off the hook following his cooperatio­n that led to the arrest of the real owner of the drug, Mr Egbo Emmanuel Maduka, who in his statement, accepted ownership of the consignmen­t and absolved Lawal of any complicity.”

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