A Lagos-based businessman, Asogwa Ochiabuto, has been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for smuggling 7.45kg of cocaine hidden in flasks and kitchen utensils into the country.
In a statement by the NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, on Tuesday, the discovery was made during the inward screening of passengers onboard an Ethiopian Airline flight from Brazil. The agency added that the drug, which was industrially concealed inside food flasks and kitchen utensils, tested positive for cocaine and weighed 7.45kg. It is estimated to have a value of N82m, the single largest seizure recorded at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, since January.
NDLEA Abuja Airport Commander, Mr. Hamisu Lawan, said the arrest was made following intensive screening by narcotic officers. He said, “The suspect, Ochiabuto, was onboard an Ethiopian Airline flight from Brazil enroute Lome, Addis Ababa to Abuja. The cocaine, though carefully hidden in the flasks, was detected during a search operation. We have commenced investigation into the case and he will soon be charged to court.”
Ochiabuto, 39, who resides in the Okota area of Lagos, hails from Umabor town in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State. He said, “I am a secondary school certificate holder. I could not further my education due to lack of sponsorship. I sell jewellery in Lagos to earn a living. I was married but now divorced. My intention was to invest the money from the drug trade in my business because I have suffered several losses that made me heavily indebted.”
Chairman of the NDLEA, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, expressed satisfaction with the arrest and drug seizure, attributing it to the Operation End-of-Year Screening inaugurated by the agency.
He said, “As the year draws to an end, we have begun the Operation End-of-Year Screening. This is targeted at preventing drug cartels from carrying out their criminal acts this season. Drug barons daily devise new drug trafficking tricks and the NDLEA will remain extra vigilant to stop them.”
Culled from Punch