NDLEA Declares Couple Wanted, Arrests 4 Cartel Members Over Cocaine Seizures

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* Intercepts China, UK-bound drug consignments; recovers 2,025 explosives in Niger, Kano, Sokoto

A couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), who runs a cocaine cartel from India, has been declared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), following the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos where a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) was recovered and two houses already traced to them sealed for possible forfeiture to the Federal Government.

Two members of the syndicate: Imran Taofeek Olalekan and Ishola Isiaka Olalekan, were arrested on April 3, 2024 following their bid to export 3.40kg cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

While Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade, whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun based in India. Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Abimbola Saheed, who works directly with the baron was arrested on Tuesday, May 14 at Abule Egba area of Lagos.

A statement signed by NDLEA Director, Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday, said it was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos Airport the day they were arrested.

“During a search of Hamed house, NDLEA operatives recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grams. He confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested.

“His arrest led to a follow-up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia,” Babafemi stated.

In the same vein, NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI), attached to a courier firm in Lagos on Wednesday, May 15 intercepted two parcels, containing Cocaine and Amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter. While the cocaine weighing 587 grams, was concealed in eight steel bolt screws going to China, the Amphetamine consignment packed in vape pens and hidden in shea butter was going to the United Kingdom.

Also, attempt by Emeka Nwadiaro (a.k.a Mega) to export 3.6kg Loud, a strain of cannabis concealed in 36 water flasks to Dubai, UAE was thwarted at a logistic company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday, May 16, while a swift follow-up operation led to the arrest of the owner of the consignment, Emeka Nwadiaro in Onitsha, Anambra State same day.

While NDLEA operatives in Lagos intercepted a mercedes benz bus loaded with 840kg cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, at Olojo in Ojo LGA, Lagos State, another suspect, Lawal Adam, was nabbed along Otukpo Road, Aliade, Benue State on Friday, May 17, with 75,000 pills of opioids including tramadol and exol-5.

“Two suspects: Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested along Owerri – Onitsha road, Imo state following the discovery by NDLEA operatives of a big gas cyclinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85kg.

“In Borno state, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested at Mbulamel, Biu LGA on Thursday 16th May with 2kg cannabis and 33.55grams of diazepam, while Gaddafi Sani, 27, was arrested with 30 kilograms of cannabis along Abuja-Kaduna road, Kaduna.

“In Yobe state, a consignment of 91.1kg opioids and 13kg cannabis going to Maiduguri, Borno state, was recovered from hidden compartments of a petrol tanker along Potiskum-Damaturu road by NDLEA officers who arrested the driver, Ismaila Ali.

“No less than four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials intercepted in a Toyota hummer bus marked AGL 905 XX by NDLEA officers along Agaie – Lapai road, Niger state. While the duo of Abdulrauf Shitu Adeyemi, 46, and Asmiyu Rahim, 45, conyeying the IED materials were arrested on the spot, follow up operations led to the arrest of Husaini Abdullahi, 25, at Sokoto main market, Sokoto and Nazifi Abdullahi, 37, at Naibawa Motor Park, Kano on Friday 17th May. The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed that all four suspects and the explosive materials be transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. In another operation, Muhammad Lawal, 42, was nabbed at Central Market Motor Park, Katsina State with 1,000 Ampoules of Pentazocine injection.

“A total of 105kg cannabis was on Friday 17th May recovered from a house at Obola community, Owan West LGA, Edo state and a suspect, Gloria Oris arrested when NDLEA officers raided the area. In Kwara state, two suspects: Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were on Saturday 18th May arrested with 83kg cannabis and tramadol at Boriya, Baruten LGA, and Offa respectively.
With the same vigour, the various commands of the Agency across the country continued with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign in the past week. Some of them include: WADA sensitisation lecture for students and teachers of Government Girls Science secondary school, Malumfashi and Government Girls Science Secondary School, Daudawa, Katsina; Government Girls Science College, Tunga Magajiya Rijau LGA, Niger state; students and teachers of St. Theresa’s College Oke-Ado, Ibadan, Oyo state; students of Government Girls Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Kano; students of Dein secondary school, Imobi secondary school and St. Columbas Grammar School, Agbor, Delta State.

“While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Imo, and Edo Commands of the Agency as well as those of DOGI for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the efforts have further affirmed the cardinal role of NDLEA in the security architecture of the country. He equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures to create a fair balance between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities,” the statement added.

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