The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that it has intercepted the largest ever quantity of the illicit drug, ephedrine, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
According to the agency, the record haul had a total weight of 83.390 kilogrammes.
The NDLEA also disclosed that two bags, with one containing heroin and arriving in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and another bearing cannabis, being exported to London, were abandoned at the same airport by traffickers.
A statement by the NDLEA spokesman, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said the seized ephedrine has a street value of N4 billion.
The anti-narcotics agency equally disclosed the substance was concealed in artificial female hair by a suspected drug trafficking syndicate and was headed to South Africa.
The statement gave the names of the suspects as Unegbu Daniel Chukwu, 42; Ettah Joseph, 28; and Wopara Bright, 31.
The NDLEA spokesman added that that the agency’s counter-narcotic measures at the airport will intensify on a daily basis.
Also commenting on the seizures, the Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.), explained that the ephedrine was intercepted at the departure hall during outward screening of a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.
He added that three suspects, including luggage handlers and a clearing agent, are currently being interrogated in connection with the crime.
Colonel Abdallah warned that the agency will frustrate attempts by criminal syndicates to sully the country's image.
“Anti-narcotic agents have been placed on the alert and will remain vigilant in detecting any act of sabotage. The case is under investigation and anyone found wanting shall be prosecuted in line with the NDLEA Act," he said.
Preliminary investigation, said the NDLEA, revealed that Unegbu Daniel, an indigene of Anambra State working as a clearing agent, collected the luggage from his client and took it to the airport.
Two luggage handlers, who allegedly worked with him, were identified as Ettah Joseph from Cross River State and Wopara Bright from Rivers State.
The cases, explained the NDLEA, are under investigation aimed at uncovering the cartel behind the illegal shipment.