The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) command at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport has arrested three men for alleged attempt to export 83.39 kilogrammes of ephedrine worth N4 billion to South Africa.
The agency’s commander at the airport, Mr. Ahmadu Garba gave the names of the suspects as Unegbu Daniel Chukwu, 42, Ettah Joseph, 28, and Wopara Bright, 31
Garba said the seizure was the largest quantity of ephedrine intercepted at the airport.
He said the substance was concealed in female hair attachment by a suspected drug trafficking syndicate going to South Africa.
He said the bag containing the substance was intercepted at the departure hall of the airport during outward screening process.
Besides, Garba said two bags, one containing heroin ferried from Nairobi and the other containing cannabis going to London, were abandoned at the airport.
“Officials of the NDLEA at the departure hall detected a bag and during search, it was found to contain substances that tested positive for ephedrine with a total weight of 83.390kgs. So far, three suspects apprehended are being interrogated to determine their level of culpability. The parcels of ephedrine were concealed amidst artificial hair” Ahmadu stated.
“Besides, a bag containing 2.500 kilogrammes of heroin was abandoned at the arrival hall during the inward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Nairobi, Kenya. Similarly, a luggage containing 4.6 kilogrammes of cannabis meant for export to London on a British Airways flight from Lagos was abandoned at the airport.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that Unegbu Daniel who works as a clearing agent collected the luggage from his client and took it to the airport. He hails from Anambra State. Two luggage handlers allegedly worked with him are Ettah Joseph who hails from Cross Rivers State and Wopara Bright who is from Rivers State,” said Garba.
He said the three suspects, including luggage handlers and a clearing agent, were being interrogated in connection with the drug.
Ephedrine is a precursor ingredient used in the production of methamphetamine.
Meanwhile, the chairman and chief executive officer of NDLEA, Retired Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah said the seizure was made possible by the agency’s counter-narcotic measures at the airport.
“NDLEA will continue to resist attempt by criminal syndicates to compromise security measures through strict law enforcement practice.
“Anti-narcotic agents have been placed on the alert and will remain vigilant in detecting any act of sabotage.
“The case is under investigation and anyone found wanting shall be prosecuted in line with the NDLEA Act,” he said.