HomeNewsNDLEA Nabs Wanted Drug Barons, Seized Assets

NDLEA Nabs Wanted Drug Barons, Seized Assets

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested two wanted heads of transnational criminal organizations, Okafor Williams and Hakeem Salami, with multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drugs and assets seized from them after weeks of intelligence-led operations across the country and outside Nigeria.

The two drug barons were nabbed after an interception of consignments of cocaine and heroin buried in the bellies of their traffickers by NDLEA officers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The agency’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement on Sunday that Salami was trailed to his hideout in South Africa following the arrest of a member of his syndicate in August.

He added that Williams was arrested alongside his wife, Grace, at their hideout in the Okota area of Lagos State.

The statement read in part, “Operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, succeeded in taking into custody, Hakeem Salami, the arrowhead of ‘Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation’ involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.

“He fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Oba at the Lagos airport on August 25, 2023, over an attempt to export 25.10kg of ephedrine to South Africa.

“Hakeem Salami was, however, smoked out of hiding through a partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms.

“While some of his luxury vehicles have been seized and his home in Surulere Lagos sealed, other members of the cartel already in custody include Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew. In his statement, he claimed he was into the importation of building materials from China to Nigeria and used to sell gold in South Africa before delving into the illicit drug trade about two years ago.”

Babafemi said the head of another cartel, Williams (aka Jantu), and his wife, Grace were also taken into custody on Thursday, October 5, 2023, when NDLEA operatives raided their hideout at 9, Awa Street, Ago Palace, the Okota area of Lagos where they recovered 27.566kg of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia.

“Their Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY parked in the house was also seized during the operation. Their arrest followed weeks of intelligence gathering about the activities of the criminal network,” he added.

The statement further revealed that another drug trafficker, Nwofor Charles, 45, was arrested on October 6, during the outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight QR 1432 to Doha.

It said after a body scan revealed he ingested cocaine, he was placed under observation during which he excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653kg.

Nwofor who was the last passenger to board his flight was also said to have offered to compromise an NDLEA officer with $3,000 to free him.

“The following day, Saturday, October 7, another trafficker, Nwufo Okwudili, 45, was also arrested while attempting to board Lufthansa Airlines flight LH 0595 to Paris, France via Frankfurt, Germany. After being put through a body scanner, he was taken into the recovery room where he excreted 96 wraps of heroin he ingested with a total weight of 1.413kgs.

“Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Okene -Lokoja-Abuja expressway on Tuesday, October 10, intercepted a commercial bus coming from Lagos to Kano. A search of the bus led to the seizure of $4,880,000 and CFA57,000,000 suspected to be counterfeits,” the statement added.

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