The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade, has dislodged a suspected money laundering syndicate that specialises in swallowing dollars. Six suspected members of the group including a bureau de change operator have been apprehended in connection with swallowing $156,000.
This is the second suspected money laundering case involving a bureau de change operator in two months. Reacting to the arrest, Giade promised to track down smuggled narcotics and currency. He warned that operators of bureau de change who failed to work within the confines of the law establishing them shall be sanctioned.
Operative of the NDLEA attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) apprehended the suspects with the said money which they want to export to Brazil at Excel Oriental Hotel along Airport Road, Lagos State, where the dollars were reportedly swallowed.
Those arrested, according to the NDLEA commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Adeniyi Muyiwa, included 37-year-old Nwokenta Kingsley, a bureau de change operator also known as Buchito; Onwuasoanya Augustine Chukwuemeka, 54 years old, who lives in Brazil and Christian Okoli Ifor, 35 years old also based in Brazil. Others are Nwokenta Emmanuel Maduakolam, 31 years old; Ezenwa Ikenna, 28 years old who is a specialist in 'wrapping' and Ezenwa Uzoma, 33 years old hotel manager.
Interim investigation report by the anti-narcotics agency revealed that Buchito is the brains behind the suspected criminal act. He allegedly supplied $120,000 to be swallowed and illicitly exported to Brazil.
Onwuasoanya Augustine Chukwuemeka swallowed 74 wraps of dollars amounting to $111,000. Christian Okoli Ifor, who resides in Brazil, had $45,000 which he wanted to swallow. Nwokenta Emmanuel, who is the manager of Amazon Bureau de Change played a supportive role in the alleged crime.
Ezenwa Ikenna who was hired to wrap the money is believed to have acquired his skill from illicit 'drug wrapping.' The illicit exportation of currency by ingestion is a new trend in circumventing money laundering legislation. Giade directed that the suspects be transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.