Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA0 have arrested at least six warehouse and tarmac staff of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc for their involvement in drug trafficking.
SaharaReporters gathered that the arrested staff had attempted to export substances believed to be cocaine out of the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
Some of the suspects were arrested on Monday at the international wing following a tip-off by some security agents of the NDLEA. A female staff of the ground handling company was among those arrested.
SaharaReporters learnt that the suspects had attempted to smuggle 26 kilogrammes of cocaine aboard Ethiopian Airlines to Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.
The investigation so far has revealed that the suspects, agreed to help courier the banned substance out of the country after an exporter had allegedly paid them money in foreign currency.
A source close to NDLEA confided in our correspondent that the substance was concealed in two luggage and was first checked-in on Sunday on the flight.
However, rather than the two bags to be put on board by the suspects on Sunday, they moved the departure of the bag to Monday, but when it was weighed again, the contents in the bag had increased from 22 to 26 kilogrammes, which drew suspicion of NDLEA officers at the tarmac who kept surveillance on the two bags.
The heinous crime was exposed on Monday at about 1 PM Nigerian time when the lady staff of NAHCo went to load the two pieces of luggage into the aircraft; leading to her arrest by NDLEA operatives.
Her arrest led to the apprehension of five others involved in the crime.
The source further told our correspondent that the suspects have been involved in dastardly acts at the warehouse before now, adding that they have already formed a ring at the airport.
The source said: “These suspects who work at the airside and export shed of NAHCO from our investigation have been involved in different criminal activities at the airport, but this time around, their attempt to courier cocaine out of the country was exposed through intelligence. They packaged the two bags for a flight to Addis-Ababa on Sunday but left it aside till Monday to add to the contents, which drew suspicion from us.
“A female staff of NAHCO was the first to be arrested for the crime, which she later confessed to and her confession led to the arrest of five others. The number might still increase as the investigation is still ongoing regarding the crime.”
The spokesman of NAHCO, Tayo Ajakaye could not be reached for comments as calls his mobile number was unanswered and a text message to the same number was not responded to as at the time of filing this report.