Metro & Crime

NDLEA arrests ex-convict returnee, at P/H airport for importing cocaine

…seizes Tramadol, Codeine in Zamfara


A 45-year-old ex-convict, Okechukwu Francis, a Brazilian returnee, who has just finished serving his jail term for drug trafficking in the South American country has been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), for importing 24 parcels of cocaine concealed in 12 tyres of lawn mowers brought into the country through the Port Harcourt International  Airport.


The suspect who is an indigene of Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State was arrested by operatives of NDLEA at the Port Harcourt airport on Saturday May 7, upon his arrival from Brazil via Doha onboard Qatar Airline flight QR1433.


The agency spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi in a statement yesterday said preliminary investigations revealed that Francis who was arrested and convicted in Brazil for drug offences completed serving his jail sentence in March 2022, after which he decided to return to Nigeria with three new lawn mowers where he concealed 24 parcels of cocaine weighing 4.56kg.


Babafemi said curiously, each parcel concealed in the tyres of the three lawn mowers bears some unique inscriptions, which are believed to be means of identification of the owners of the drug.


The two parcels in one of the tyres of the first lawn mower bear O LORD and HAVE MERCY. The parcels in one of the tyres  whenof the second mower bears the inscription IN GOD and WE TRUST, while the third mower has IJIOMA and 186.6 inscribed on the two parcels hidden in one of its tyres. During interrogation Okechukwu claimed one of his church members gave him the lawn mowers to deliver to his brother in Port Harcourt.


In other operations across Zamfara, Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano state, no fewer than 37, 876 tablets of pharmaceutical opioids especially Tramadol; 10,884 bottles of codeine and 825.016 kilograms of cannabis sativa were recovered during raids in the past week.


In Zamfara state, a Mercedes Benz truck with registration number XB 986 AGB from Onitsha to Sokoto was intercepted in Tsafe area on Friday, May 20.


Apart from the driver and his assistant that were arrested, three other persons: Alex Chukwuemeka, 37; Ignatius Mokwe Odikpo, 47 and Andrew Chijokwe, 47 who are owners of the drug exhibits were arrested in a follow up operation at a hotel in Gusau, while waiting to receive the consignment for possible movement to Sokoto. Seized from them include: 9,900 bottles of codeine, 599.3kg cannabis and 15,889 tablets of other opioids.




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