NDLEA Detains Two Wanted Drug Barons, Seizes $4.8M Counterfeit Currency

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Abuja, Nigeria – The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has scored a significant victory in its ongoing war against transnational drug trafficking organizations. operatives have apprehended two highly sought-after leaders of criminal networks involved in illicit drug trafficking worth billions of Naira. These operations, both inside and outside the country, have resulted in the seizure of substantial assets from the traffickers.

The Director, Media & Advocacy of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, announced these remarkable developments on Sunday at NDLEA headquarters in Abuja.

The arrested individuals were discovered to have concealed substantial quantities of cocaine and heroin within their bodies. Their capture occurred after NDLEA operatives intercepted consignments headed for Paris, France, and Doha, , at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

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NDLEA suspect

Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the mastermind behind the “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation,” which is engaged in the illicit trade of various narcotics across Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe, was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. Hakeem had fled Nigeria to South Africa following the arrest of a syndicate member, Suleiman Babatunde Oba, who attempted to export 25.10 kilograms of ephedrine to South Africa on August 25. Hakeem was ultimately tracked down in South Africa through collaborative efforts with South African authorities and various intelligence and investigative methods. This operation resulted in the confiscation of luxury vehicles and the sealing of his home in Surulere, Lagos. Several other members of the criminal cartel are also in custody.

Okafor Ikechukwu Williams, alias “Jantu,” and his wife, Okafor Ifeyinwa Grace, were taken into custody after NDLEA operatives raided their hideout in Lagos, where they discovered 27.566 kilograms of methamphetamine ready for export to Europe and Asia. Their Lexus RX350 vehicle was also seized during the operation. The couple was arrested following extensive intelligence gathering about their criminal activities.

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At the Abuja airport, NDLEA operatives arrested Nwofor Ejiogu Charles, who had ingested cocaine. After excreting 75 cocaine pellets, he offered an NDLEA officer $3,000 to secure his release. Another trafficker, Nwufo Charles Okwudili, was arrested at the airport while attempting to board a flight to Paris, France. He had ingested 96 wraps of heroin weighing 1.413 kilograms.

In addition to these drug-related operations, NDLEA operatives on patrol along the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja expressway intercepted a commercial bus originating from Lagos to Kano. A search of the bus led to the seizure of $4,880,000 and CFA57,000,000 in suspected counterfeit currency.

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In Sokoto, a Federal High Court sentenced Alhaji Umar Mohammed, also known as “Dan Bala,” to five and a half years in prison for possession and dealing in 436.38 kilograms of cannabis and 7 kilograms of psychotropic drugs. This conviction followed NDLEA’s charges against him in October 2022.

Operatives in Edo state arrested Happy Akashili and Solomon Uwesue inside a cannabis farm in Owan West LGA, where they had 92 kilograms of processed skunk and 49 kilograms of the same substance.

NDLEA also engaged in advocacy campaigns against drug abuse, raising awareness in schools, markets, worship centers, and communities.

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Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, commended the dedication and success of NDLEA’s Commands in the past week and assured that the agency will continue to be vigilant in the face of challenges posed by criminal networks.

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