The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, says its operatives have arrested two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations with multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drugs and assets seized from them after weeks of intelligence-led operations across the country and outside Nigeria.
NDLEA said the arrest of the wanted drug lords came on the heels of the interception of consignments of cocaine and heroin buried in the bellies of two traffickers heading to Paris, France, and Doha, Qatar, by NDLEA officers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja.
This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy.
Babafemi also stated that the agency’s operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday took into custody, Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organization” involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.
According to the NDLEA, Salami fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Babatunde Oba, at the Lagos airport on August 25 over attempt to export 25.10kgs of ephedrine to South Africa.
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However, Salami was smoked out of hiding through partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms, with some of his luxury vehicles seized, including his home in Surulere, Lagos.
Salami joined other members of his cartel, Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew, who were already in the custody of the NDLEA .
In a related operation, the anti-narcotic agency claimed that the head of another cartel, Okafor Ikechukwu Williams (aka Jantu), and his wife, Okafor Ifeyinwa Grace, were also taken into custody on Thursday 5th October when operatives raided their hideout at 9 Awa Street, Ago Palace, Okota area of Lagos, where they recovered 27.566 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia, with their Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY also seized during the operation.