Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have seized 1.8tons (1,855 kilograms) of cocaine said to be worth more than $278,250,000 (over N194billion) in street value.
The illicit drugs, which appear to be the biggest singular seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency, were seized during a raid at a major warehouse located in Ikorodu area of Lagos on Sunday, September 18.
NDLEA’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Monday, September 19, said four drug barons and one other 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.
The warehouse was raided on Sunday while the barons were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and Monday.
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 statement read.