Drug trafficker offers $3000 bribe to escape arrest at airport

* NDLEA nabs syndicates, two suspects excreted 1.653kg of cocaine, 1.413kgs of heroin

By Nudoiba Ojen

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested two drug traffickers,
Nwofor Ejiogu Charles, 45, and
Nwufo Charles Okwudili, 45, who ingested cocaine and heroin at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

At the point of his arrest, Nwofor who was the last passenger to board his flight offered to compromise an NDLEA officer with $3,000 to free him.

In a statement issued on Sunday by NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, the anti-narcotics agency said that the two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations were also taken into custody.

Babafemi stated, “At the Abuja airport, operatives on Friday 6th October arrested a drug trafficker, Nwofor Ejiogu Charles, 45, during the outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight QR 1432 to Doha.

“After body scan revealed he ingested cocaine, he was placed under observation during which he excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653kgs. At the point of his arrest, Nwofor, who was the last passenger to board his flight, offered to compromise an NDLEA officer with $3,000 to free him.

“The following day, Saturday 7th October, another trafficker, Nwufo Charles Okwudili, 45, was also arrested while attempting to board Lufthansa Airlines flight LH 0595 to Paris, France via Frankfurt, Germany.

“After being put through body scanner, he was taken into recovery room where he excreted 96 wraps of heroin he ingested with a total weight of 1.413kgs,” Babafemi stated”.

Babafemi stated that operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 “succeeded in taking into custody one Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organization” involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics including Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe”.

He explained that he fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Babatunde Oba, the Lagos airport on August 25 over attempt to export 25.10kgs of ephedrine to South Africa.

The spokesman said that Salami was smoked out of hiding through partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms.

He said that while some of his luxury vehicles had been seized and his home in Surulere Lagos sealed, other members of the cartel already in custody include Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew.

In his statement, Salami claimed he was into the importation of building materials from China to Nigeria and used to sell gold in South Africa before delving into the illicit drug trade about two years ago.

Babafemi stated that the head of another cartel, Okafor Ikechukwu Williams (aka Jantu) and his wife, Okafor Ifeyinwa Grace were also taken into custody on Thursday 5th October when NDLEA operatives raided their hideout at 9 Awa Street, Ago Palace, Okota area of Lagos where they recovered 27.566 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia.

“Their Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY parked in the house was also seized during the operation. Their arrest followed weeks of intelligence gathering about the activities of the criminal network,” the statement said.

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