The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), yesterday [Nov. 13], said it had uncovered a drug trafficking cartel at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu, with two officers of the Agency, Daniel Goska and Ndubuisi Ughor, involved in the illicit business. Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr. Ahmadu Giade told journalists that the mode of operation of the drug cartel was somewhat strange to investigators, but promised to intensify efforts in stemming the tide of smuggling in Nigeria and the involvement of NDLEA officials in such deals.
The NDLEA boss said that the two indicted officers of the Agency, Goska and Ughor, who are at large had also been summarily dismissed and that efforts are ongoing to arrest and prosecute them. He added that although drug barons are desperate, the Agency is committed to dismantle drug trafficking organisations.
“No bad egg in the NDLEA will escape justice. Notwithstanding the strange way the cartel operates, I am pleased that it was exposed and ultimately dislodged,” said Giade. The Agency will continue to adopt superior drug control strategies in line with global best practices. This is one sweet victory over criminal groups. The NDLEA is committed to the eradication of narcotics from our country and will continue to look for subversive elements” Giade added.
According to him, the activities of the group were exposed when narcotic officials aborted the exportation of 74.7kg of narcotic drug that tested positive for Ephedrine. The drug was packed in three bags. Two of the bags weighing 50.7kg were destined for Maputo, Mozambique, while the third bag weighing 24kg was destined for Johannesburg, South Africa. The 74.7kg of Ephedrine had been properly marked as exhibits and tendered as evidence before a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu.
The NDLEA boss said preliminary investigation by the agency revealed that the drug cartel had successfully infiltrated some members of the airport community including, the two NDLEA staff who are at large. He listed those indicted to include: Eddie Ifeanyichukwu Dayson, a key member of the drug trafficking organisation, Emmanuel Lucky Okorie, operations manager with Ethiopian Airline, Amaechi Henry, a supervisor, passenger services department of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc and Ezeugwu Jacob who is a ticket and baggage staff at the airport.
According to him, the two staff of the NDLEA, Superintendent of Narcotics (SN) Goska and Chief Narcotic Agent (CNA) Ughor linked to the cartel absconded from duty as soon as the arrest of the other members of the cartel were made.
It was gathered from investigation that whenever the cartel has a consignment of drug, the airline operations manager will identify passengers on the flight whose bags are weighing less and tag the luggage in their names. Once this is done, they will contact their partners at the airport of final destination with the tag numbers to receive the consignments. These findings were further corroborated by the statements of the innocent passengers, whose names were used to tag the bags containing the 74.7kg of Ephedrine. When invited for questioning, it was discovered that they had no knowledge of the bags tagged in their names.
Meanwhile, the operations manager of Ethiopian Airline at the Enugu Airport, Okorie and three others, Henry, Dayson and Jacob had been arraigned before a Federal High Court in Enugu in connection with the seizure. The accused persons were charged before Justice V. D. Agishi for unlawful possession, exportation and conspiracy to export 74.7kg of Ephedrine via Ethiopian Airline flight. They all pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge and remanded in prison custody as the case was adjourned until November 30, 2015 for bail argument.
In their statements, 47-year old Dayson, who hails from Ubahazu Amiri in Imo State is a key member of the drug cartel. He had lived in Germany for five years and returned to Nigeria in June 2015. In his statement, Eddie said that, “I was not there when the bags were prepared. They brought the bags containing Ephedrine to me in my hotel room and I successfully took the bags to the airport where I was arrested”.
- via: Sunnewsonline