NDLEA nabs ex-convict with 4.56kg cocaine at Port Harcourt airport

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By Emma Njoku & Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Fresh from serving a jail term for drug trafficking in Brazil, a 45-year-old man, Okechukwu Francis Amaechi, has, again, been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), for importing 24 parcels of cocaine concealed in 12 tyres of lawn mowers into the country.

The ex-convict, who hails from Idemili South Local Government Area (LGA), Anambra State, was arrested on Saturday, May 7, upon his arrival from Brazil via Doha, onboard Qatar Airline flight QR1433.

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Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi, who made the disclosure in a statement, yesterday, said preliminary investigations revealed that Okechukwu just completed serving his jail sentence in Brazil for drug offence, in March 2022, after which he decided to return to Nigeria. Each of the 24 parcels of cocaine, according to the statement, weighed 4.56 kilograms.

“Curiously, each parcel concealed in the tyres of the three lawn mowers bears some unique inscriptions, which are believed to be means of identification of the owners of the drug.  The two parcels in one of the tires of the first lawn mower bear “O LORD” and “HAVE MERCY”.  The parcels in one of the tyres of the second mower bears the inscription “IN GOD” and “WE TRUST”, while the third mower has “IJIOMA” and “186.6” inscribed on the two parcels hidden in one of its tyres,” the statement further revealed.

Okechukwu claimed one of his church members gave him the lawn mowers to deliver to his brother in Port Harcourt.

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In other operations across Zamfara, Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano states, no fewer than 37, 876 tablets of pharmaceutical opioids, especially tramadol; 10,884 bottles of codeine and 825.016 kilograms of cannabis sativa were recovered during raids in the past week.

In Zamfara state, a Mercedes Benz truck with reg. no. XB 986 AGB from Onitsha to Sokoto was intercepted in the Tsafe area on Friday, May 20. Apart from the driver and his assistant that were arrested, three other persons: Alex Chukwuemeka, 37; Ignatius Mokwe Odikpo, 47 and Andrew Chijokwe, 47, who are owners of the drug exhibits were arrested in a follow up operation at a hotel in Gusau, while waiting to receive the consignment for possible movement to Sokoto. Seized from them include: 9,900 bottles of codeine, 599.3kg cannabis and 15,889 tablets of other opioids.

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In Kogi state, a fake security agent, Richard Agada was arrested last Wednesday, while conveying 10 bags of cannabis sativa weighing 116.8kg in a white Nissan van. Various quantities of opioids and cannabis were equally seized in two separate operations the previous Tuesday and Monday in other parts of the state, with the arrest of a drug dealer, Ayuba Nda Isah, 32.

Three suspects: Nornu Abanne; Yirakpoa Emmanuel and Dornu Gbarazia, were arrested at Kaani community and Bori with 90kg cannabis and 1.5gram of cocaine last Wednesday.

In Kaduna, three suspects: Nura Salis, Bawa Musa and Charity Jacob, were arrested last Tuesday at Warri Street, within the state capital, with 4,900 tablets of tramadol, 890 ampoules of diazepam injection, 257 ampoules of pentazocine injection, 1,950 tablets of nitrazepam and 830 tablets of carbamazepine.