Five members arrested as NDLEA busts drug syndicate, seizes loud consignments


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has dismantled a drug syndicate operating in Nigeria, South Africa, and Thailand.

Five members of the cartel were arrested, and a large quantity of illicit drugs was seized.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday.

The syndicate members were said to have hidden drugs in false suitcase bottoms and gas tankers, but the NDLEA operatives tracked them down in several states.

The agency also intercepted a gas tanker carrying 4,752kg of cannabis sativa and arrested four suspects.

The statement said, “Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have smashed an international drug syndicate with networks in parts of Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand.

“No fewer than five members of the cartel were arrested in a two-week intelligence-led operation in Lagos, Abia and Anambra states following the seizure of their illicit drug consignments at the NAHCO import shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos.

“The unraveling of the drug cartel started on Sunday, April 20 when their cargo of four big suitcases arrived at the NAHCO shed on an Air Peace airline flight from Johannesburg, South Africa.”

Babafemi said after days of close monitoring and investigation, the first suspect, Umeh Peter was arrested on Wednesday, April 24 after he showed up to pick up two of the suitcases containing Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis owned by a Thailand-based member of the syndicate, Obum Michael.

The statement added, “The consignment of four parcels was concealed in false bottoms of the two suitcases, while the four suitcases contain a total of 17.6 kilograms Loud and drug candies.

“Another member of the syndicate, Chiwendu Ugbe whose South Africa-based husband, Aloytus Ugbe sent some of the consignments, was traced to Anambra State where NDLEA officers arrested her on Saturday, April 27 while attempting to collect the drug parcels sent to her by her husband.

“Two other suspects: Onyejakor Francis Chimezie and Naaji Valentine Chukwukere, with links to the cartel, were also arrested in parts of Lagos on Monday, April 29.”
According to Babafemi, their arrest led to another operation in Abia State where Chinazo Osigwe was arrested when she was to pick up some of the parcels containing Loud and drug candies sent by her husband, Osigwe Chidiebere Anthony who is equally operating from South Africa.

He added that NDLEA operatives made several significant arrests and seizures in various states.

On May 1, he said the agency’s operatives intercepted a gas tanker on the Abuja-Abaji highway, discovering 4,752kg of cannabis sativa hidden in the tank.

Four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure.

In other operations, NDLEA operatives arrested suspects with large quantities of drugs, including cannabis sativa, codeine syrup, tramadol, and cocaine.

An ex-convict, Suleiman Usman, was arrested in Osun State with a stash of drugs, including cocaine and cannabis sativa.

Additionally, NDLEA operatives intercepted a car conveying 64kg of cannabis at the Seme border in Lagos and arrested the driver.

In Bauchi State, operatives arrested suspects with large quantities of codeine and opioids, while another suspect was arrested with 33kg of cannabis in Benue State.
Similarly, a suspect was arrested with 12kg of cannabis in Bayelsa State.