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Metro News

Driver, trader swallow N39m cocaine

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Two men are currently in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency after being nabbed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos over 252 wraps of cocaine weighing 4.3kgs.

The NDLEA put the street value of the drugs at about N39m.

According to NDLEA spokesperson, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, the suspects – 54-year-old Chinweuba Echezona, who is a driver and 44-year-old Ekwueme Louis, a trader – had ingested some of the drugs and concealed part of it in their luggage.

Ofoyeju said, “The suspects were caught during the screening of passengers on an Emirates flight from Dubai. The NDLEA commander at the airport, Ahmed Garba, said that both suspects are under investigation.

“Echezona packed 103 wraps of cocaine in his waist and ingested 69 wraps weighing 2.745kgs while Louis concealed 75 wraps in his luggage and ingested five wraps.”

Garba said the suspects are currently being grilled over the unlawful importation.

Ofoyeju said “Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects were promised N500,000 each to smuggle the drugs from Dubai to Nigeria. Their trip was fully sponsored by an unidentified drug trafficking organisation.

“However, efforts are ongoing to trace and arrest their sponsors. Martins is married with five children while Louis is married with three children.”

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Echezona told officials of the agency in his statement, “I am a driver but I have been out of job for a while now. I have been searching for job and my condition was so bad that I could not feed and discharge my responsibilities as a husband to my wife and father to my children. This was the reason I went into drug trafficking. I did it in order to survive the economic hardship.”

Louis also attributed his involvement in drug trafficking to poverty.

“I used to sell jewellery but I have lost everything including my shop due to family problem. I feel ashamed that I cannot take care of my family and pay the school fees of my children,” he said.

NDLEA Chairman, Muhammad Abdallah, has ordered a speedy investigation of their cases.

He said, “Let me assure members of the public that the NDLEA has taken measures to fortify the exit points in the country. Drug traffickers will find it difficult to break through our security barriers.”

“The ultimate objective is to have a society that is free from illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse. This arrest is being investigated and we hope to trace other persons linked to the crime.”

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