June 24, 2024

NDLEA Foils Global Drug Cartel, Seizes Record-Breaking Heroin Consignment



By: Emmanuel Ibitoye


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has dismantled an international drug cartel, achieving the largest heroin seizure in the agency’s history—51.90 kilograms valued at N10.4 billion (£100,000 per kilogram). NDLEA Chairman, Brig-Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd), announced the breakthrough at a briefing in the Lagos Airport Command. The operation led to the arrest of four cartel members, including six mules, with connections reaching Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe, and America.


The alleged Nigerian kingpin, Reginald Chidiebere, was traced to his residence in Ago Palace, Okota, Lagos. The NDLEA froze 107 bank accounts associated with 14 cartel members and seized N119.6 million from traced accounts. Additionally, Chidiebere’s Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite on Hope Estate, Ago Palace, were sealed, while two mansions linked to the suspected syndicate heads in Nigeria and Mozambique face forfeiture.


The operation began on February 10, 2024, when NDLEA operatives intercepted a suspicious package at the SAHCO Import Shed of Murtala Mohammed International Airport. Disguised as 2300-watt metal cutting machines, the 15 cartons held 45 blocks of high-grade heroin, weighing a total of 49.70kg. The investigation led to the arrest of the freight agent, Olowolagba Babatunde, and the warehouse manager, Ajayi Moses, with the subsequent capture of the expected consignment receiver.


This significant bust demonstrates the NDLEA’s commitment to combating drug trafficking and organized crime, emphasizing the agency’s success in intercepting a substantial consignment with far-reaching global connections.

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