NDLEA Blocks 107 Bank Accounts, N119 Million, Seals Hotel, Mansions… Intercepts Largest Consignment Of Heroin At Lagos Airport, Arrests Four Drug Barons

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has successfully blocked and froze a total of 107 bank accounts associated with 14 members of alleged drug cartel as well as their N119,582,928.31 found in some of the already traced bank accounts....READ FULL ARTICLE

NDLEA added that it also sealed off a hotel and a mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Nigeria, one Reginald Peter Chidiebere and another mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Mozambique, Festus Ibewuike located in Ago Palace Way, Okota-Isolo Local government area of Lagos State.

The buildings had already been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

Femi Babafemi, the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, in a statement on Tuesday 27th, February 2024, said the measure yielded further fruit on Thursday 22nd February when a female member of the syndicate and wife of Festus Ibewuike, Mrs. Confidence Ndidiamaka Ibewuike who is one of those to collect part of the consignment from Adinnu Felix Chinedu, was arrested at Ago Palace area on last Thursday.

“When they were brought face to face, he (Adinnu Felix Chinedu) immediately identified her as one of the members of the criminal syndicate who had received similar packages of heroin with the syndicate’s logo from him on two different occasions.

“Though she denied knowing Adinnu or receiving anything from him before, investigation later revealed how her husband identified as Festus Ibewuike who is a top kingpin and currently residing in Mozambique used to send drug consignments to her through Adinnu Felix Chinedu.

“With pictorial evidence of different parcels with different codes and using other methodologies, we were able to confirm several instructions from her husband to her regarding illicit drug shipments already collected before.

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“A search was promptly conducted in their residence located at the Ago Palace area, Festac Town where a Toyota Venza car was recovered as well as several documents including, bank and property documents belonging to Festus Ibewuike

“Their mansion in Ago Palace area has also been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.” The statement said.

He said the action was in line with the agency’s efforts to ensure that all those involved are brought to book.

He explained that the chairman of the NDLEA, Buba Marwa assured that NDLEA has shared comprehensive intelligence with South African counterparts for necessary action regarding the other members of the group living in that country.

“There is a parallel between this seizure and the September 18, 2022 seizure of 2,139.5kg cocaine in an Ikorodu warehouse. That was the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of NDLEA.

“This present bust is the largest single heroin seizure at the MMIA so far.”

Marwa haile the synergy and support the NDLEA enjoys from other stakeholders like Customs, the military, Immigration, Police, DSS, NSCDC, FRSC, NAFDAC, Aviation Security (AVSEC) and the media as well as international partners.

According to the statement, Marwa said the Agency won’t relent in its offensive action targeting drug barons and their networks.

“In our renewed fight against drug trafficking, our offensive action is specifically targeting drug barons to disrupt distribution networks and uproot the drug pipelines in the country

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“To this end, we have arrested 48 barons in three years, 15 of whom are already serving jail terms while the rest are facing trials in court. This should serve as a warning to others that there is no hiding place in Nigeria for anyone involved in the illicit drug trade

“NDLEA is resolved to end the reign of drug barons and disconnect Nigeria from the global drug trafficking network. We have maintained a consistently strong performance, every week. With this heroin bust, we are sending a warning again to drug traffickers within and outside the county that if they fail to desist from the illicit drug trade, the long arm of the law will catch up with them.”

It was gathered that the suspect would dismantle the consignment and remove the drugs from the machines. Thereafter, he would wait for a list of various recipients to be forwarded to him from South Africa by the head of the criminal group.

“Our operatives did due diligence by conducting a thorough search of the warehouse which led to the recovery of 56 similar cartons of the cutting machines that were used previously as modes of concealment to ferry heroin into Nigeria

“At this point, it was clear that we are dealing with a syndicate that operates in other countries. By the time, we were done exploring various leads we had, we unravelled an organised criminal network that operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria and parts of Europe and America.

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“This syndicate has a wide network in Nigeria because the consignments we seized were marked with several codenames, showing that they belonged to different members of this organised criminal group.” Babafemi further volunteered in a statement.

He added that in the agency’s follow-up operation, they uncovered from the suspect a long list of receivers of illicit drugs adding that in the end, they were able to identify the kingpin of the syndicate here in Nigeria and named him as Reginald Peter Chidiebere.

“Our investigations showed that he owns the Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite, located at 16 Reginald Peter Chidiebere Street, Hope Estate, Ago Palace.” Babafemi said.

Speaking on the operation, the NDLEA boss said it was a several days of surveillance on the hotel that culminated in a raid operation on Monday, February 19, in which another drug mule, Igboanugo Chukwuebuka Thankgod, was found in possession of two parcels of 2.2kg heroin with codes similar to the ones found on the seized drug shipment, bringing the total seizure to 51.90 kilograms.

“He readily confessed that he was invited by Mr. Reginald Peter Chidiebere to the hotel on Sunday, February 18, 2024. He was lodged in one of the rooms and was later summoned by the receptionist to meet a guest, from whom Reginald Peter Chidiebere had informed him over the phone to receive a package....READ FULL ARTICLE

This sequence of action was confirmed by a review of the CCTV at the hotel”, he stated. He further explained that pre-emptive actions….

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