NDLEA arrests cook with N14b worth of meth concealed in foodstuff

*The suspect, Richard

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) command at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos has arrested a cook, Mr. Richard Efetobore Ese with 45 kilogrammes of methamphetamine worth N14 billion.

NDLEA commander at the airport, Mr. Ahmadu Garba, said the 48-year-old suspect concealed the substance in foodstuff meant for export to South Africa.

He said the discovery was made during the outward screening of a Kenyan Airways flight.

“Officers discovered 45 kilogrammes of substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. The suspect is assisting our team of investigators and will be charged to court soon,” said the commander.

He said the suspect, who hails from Delta State, had worked for 10 years in Madrid, Spain where he was said to have been given N1, 000, 000 to smuggle the drug to South Africa.

In his confessional statement, Richard was reported to have said: “I was given N1, 000, 000 to smuggle the drug to South Africa.

“I was told the bag contains African food but during search, NDLEA officers discovered methamphetamine in the luggage weighing 45 kilogrammes.

“I worked in Madrid for ten years as a Chef and I am married with four children. The man that gave me the job met me in a drinking club.”

In his reaction, the chairman and chief executive officer of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd) described the seizure as a “victory over drug barons.”

He said the agency’s efforts in addressing the problem of methamphetamine production and trafficking must be complemented by stakeholders.

Abdallah who promised that the agency would arrest the other members of the syndicate added: “I am very pleased with this seizure. It is a victory for Nigerians over drug barons but the Agency’s efforts in reducing the drug problem must be complemented by other stakeholders.

“Stiffer punishment must be meted out to those involved in methamphetamine production. On our part, the Agency must continue to identify more clandestine laboratories and prosecute offenders. I want investigation to be very thorough and at the end of the day, more arrests shall be made. I want other members of the criminal gang arrested.”

He added: Locally produced methamphetamine is in high demand in Asia and Europe thus making the criminal trade highly lucrative.

“It is only logical that such a drug should attract stiffer punishment to discourage its production and trafficking.

“Methamphetamine and similar drugs deserve stiffer punishment to check the proliferation of clandestine laboratories and cases of trafficking.

“Continued production exposes our youths to the risk of being recruited by drug barons to smuggle it out of the country. It is therefore worrisome that most seizures made are even destined to countries where drug trafficking is punishable by death,” he added.

Since 2011, Nigeria has discovered 11 clandestine laboratories where the drug is produced. Five were found in Lagos State, another five in Anambra State and one in Delta State.

Meth is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity.

Meth was discovered in 1893. Meth users and addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, regardless of the route of administration, from a condition informally known as meth mouth.

The condition is generally most severe in users who inject the drug, rather than swallow, smoke, or inhale it.



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