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NDLEA Trails Syndicate Over N30bn Money Laundering Scheme

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are closing in on a syndicate involved in a N30 billion money-laundering scheme, The Nation has gathered.

The syndicate, it was gathered, involved a number of politically and financially exposed persons.

The perpetrators are suspected exporters of controlled drugs to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The syndicate is suspected of laundering the proceeds of drug dealing by creating complex layers of transactions using intermediary companies as a sham and mask to avoid recognition by law enforcement agencies.

“We are closing in on them. We are following the money and we will unveil them,” a source said.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the NDLEA, Brig-Gen Buba Marwa, said they had seized illicit drugs worth N80 billion in the past three months.

He said this when the acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, visited him at the NDLEA Headquarters in Abuja.

He said 2,100 persons were arrested and 350 convictions had been secured.

He said the need for collaboration with the police was needed as the agency moves to its next phase of targeting the drug barons.

In a related development, a 47-year-old suspected drug trafficker, Chigbogu Ernest Obiora, has excreted 97 wraps of substance that tested positive to cocaine in Lagos State.

The substance weighed 1.55 kg and has a street value of N360 million.

Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi, made this known in a statement on Friday.

Babafemi said Obiora was arrested by operatives of the Agency at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, after which he was put under observation and he excreted the substances.

The statement reads: “He was arrested at about 1:16 pm on Sunday 25th April 2021 during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline. He had arrived in Lagos onboard the airline from Entebbe, Uganda via Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.

“According to the Commander, MMIA Command of the anti-drug law enforcement agency, Ahmadu Garba, Obiora was intercepted in the E-arrival hall of the airport by the operatives of NDLEA on the suspicion that he ingested drug substance.

“The suspect was taken for body machine scan and the result was positive for ingestion of substance suspected to be illicit drug. The suspect was promptly moved to the NDLEA excretion/ observation facility.

“Barely an hour after he was arrested, Obiora excreted 31 wraps of cocaine weighing 500grammes and another 47 wraps (750 grammes) in the evening of the same day while 19 wraps (300 grammes) were excreted the following day, Monday 26th April, bringing the total to 97 wraps, that is, 1.55kg.”

Babafemi said under interrogation, Obiora, who claimed he did not know the real owner of the drug, was promised $1,500 if he successfully trafficked it.

“I don’t know him. They contacted me on the phone and asked if I could do the business,” he claimed.

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