Desperate att empts by Brazil based drug cartels to smuggle large consignments of Cocaine into Nigeria through three major international airports have been foiled by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
A total of seven traffickers were arrested across the Port Harcourt International Airport, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Mohamed International Airport, Lagos.
At the Port Harcourt International Airport, 5 suspects were arrested on Saturday, April 9.
According to a statement by the spokesman for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, three of the suspects were arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt.
The three reportedly departed Sao Paulo, Brazil, on board same Qatar flight, en-route Doha to Abuja and Port Harcourt, with a total of 24.96 kilograms of cocaine.
The first is 51-year-old Udogwu James Johnson, who was arrested with 5.48kg of cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles, sealed with candle wax.
He claimed he agreed to traffic the drug for a fee of N1million.
Also arrested is Ezekwueme Ifeanyi Valentine, 32, caught with 10.82kg of cocaine packed in 84 sachets concealed in seven duvets, while the third trafficker, Chiezie Ikechukwu Arinze, 35, was arrested with 8.66kg of cocaine, hidden in 115 golden and silver colour 30ml breakable bottles, factory-packaged with lotion on top.
The fourth suspect, Uchechukwu Onwugbufor, 42, was arrested at the airport car park while waiting to receive one of the traffickers, Udogwu James and his consignment.
He claimed he was contacted by someone in Brazil to receive Udogwu and lead him to Lagos for a fee of N100, 000.
Uchechukwu Onwugbufor was at the Airport with his neighbour, Nwogu Ezimadu, who is equally being investigated to determine if he is complicit in the crime or not.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, a Psychology graduate of Imo State University, Owerri, Sebastine Emeka Kelvin, 30, was arrested with 74 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.454kg on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight en route Doula- Addis Ababa-Abuja on Wednesday, April 13.
The father of one, who claims he is a motor spare parts dealer, lived in Cameroon for six years before going into the drug business to raise money to boost his trade.
He added that he was introduced to the man who gave him the drugs at Addis Ababa by another person serving jail term for drug offence at the Doula Newbell Prison.
In Lagos, another Brazil based passenger, Uba Samuel was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) by NDLEA operatives on Friday, April 15, on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight from Sao Paulo via Addis Ababa to Lagos, with sachets of cocaine weighing 633grams concealed in his footwear and toothpaste tube.
The suspect, who claims to be a shoemaker and barber, accepted ownership of the drug and said he used his shoe making know-how to conceal the drug in his pair of sandals.
“Uba, who is a regular traveller, confessed he bought the drug to sell at a market in Abia,” Mr Babafemi said.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor