A 42-year-old clearing agent, Daniel Unegbu, alongside two drug couriers have been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos,while attempting to smuggle 83.8 kilogrammes of drug to south Africa.
According to the officials, the drug discovered in artificial human hair, estimated at N4bn, was said to be the largest amount of ephedrine seized at the MMIA.
The two other suspects identified as Joseph Ettah, 28, and Bright Wopara, 31 alongside the clearing agent are being interrogated.
The NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba, while confirming their arrest said preliminary investigation revealed that Unegbu aided the traffickers to conceal the drug.
He said, “Officials of the NDLEA at the departure hall detected a bag and during the search, it was found to contain substances that tested positive for ephedrine, with a total weight of 83.390kg.
”So far, three suspects apprehended are being interrogated to determine their level of culpability.
“A preliminary investigation revealed that Unegbu, who works as a clearing agent, collected the luggage from his client and took it to the airport. Ettah and Wopara are the two luggage handlers who worked with him.”
A statement from NDLEA Chairman, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (rtd.), said the agency had strengthened narcotic screening at airports in order to frustrate the different tricks employed by drug traffickers.
“This end of the year, counter-narcotic smuggling strategy had prevented attempt by a suspected drug trafficking syndicate to export 83.390kg of ephedrine hidden in female hair attachment to South Africa.
“Ephedrine is a precursor ingredient used in the production of methamphetamine. The estimated street value of the drug is about N4bn.
“ NDLEA will continue to resist attempt by criminal syndicates to compromise security through strict law enforcement practice.
“Anti-narcotic agents have been placed on the alert and will remain vigilant to detect any act of sabotage.
“The case is under investigation and anyone found wanting shall be prosecuted in line with the NDLEA Act,” Abdallah said.