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Drug baron on the run as NDLEA intercepts N6.5bn heroin at Lagos airport

Tony Chidi Onwurolu , declared wanted by NDLEA

By Sunday Oyinloye

The war against illicit drug in Nigeria is getting hotter as the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have intercepted a consignment of 26.150kilograms of heroin with a street value of over N6.5billion at the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos.

This is coming barely a week after different quantities of illicit drugs going to the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand were intercepted and seized by narcotic officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations, DOGI, attached to some courier companies in Lagos.

The illicit drug had arrived Lagos in 25 parcels from South Africa through an Airpeace Airline flight on 30th June, 2021 and was detained for screening following reasonable suspicion of the content of the consignment.

 Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable gathered that a follow up operation was subsequently carried out the following day.

Narcotic officers of the MMIA command trailed the driver and a clearing agent that were assigned to deliver the consignment to the house of a baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu at No. 132 Lateef Adegboyega Street, off Ago palace way by Grandmate bus stop Okota, Lagos.

During the follow up operation, Tony Chidi Onwurolu who obviously mounted counter-surveillance around his neighbourhood fled his home before the arrival of the team of operatives who stormed his residence.

They were however able to search his home and recovered a number of documents to establish his true identity.

According to NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, “the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed that the fleeing drug baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu be declared wanted immediately and his details submitted to Interpol for tracking across the world.

He therefore directed the Agency’s Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations as well as the Directorate of Intelligence to deploy their networks to fast track the arrest of Onwurolu.”

Babafemi quoted Marwa as saying that in view of the volume of heroin brought into country by the fleeing baron, the Agency would deploy all available mechanisms, locally and internationally, to track him and bring him to face charges in the law court.

Marwa was said to have vowed that the fleeing baron would be arrested just as others who have been on the run and later arrested by NDLEA.

In a related development, operatives of the Command also intercepted a 4.3kg of skunk imported from Canada. The package, which came on Ethiopian Airline, was concealed in nine packs of cereals.

Also on 9th July, one Babatunde Usman Omogbolahan Bakare was intercepted by NDLEA operatives with 550grams of cannabis and 50grams of Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) concealed in six jerry cans of local herbal mixtures called Gabo at SAHCO export shed, MMIA, Ikeja. 

The drug was detected during outward clearance of Cargo going to Dubai.

Earlier on Tuesday 6th July, operatives of the MMIA Command, conducted a follow-up operation at Gate 2, Ladipo Oluwole Street, opposite Guinness Bottling Company, Ikeja, where one Animashaun Kabiru was apprehended for questioning about a bag containing bitter cola, which was brought for export to the UK.

When the bag of bitter kola was searched, it was discovered that the bitter kola were mixed with some wraps of a substance suspected to be illicit drug. Thirty-six wraps of the suspected substance later tested positive for Cocaine weighing 600grams.

In another development,  a Uber driver, Lawal Tunde Rasheed, arrested in connection with the seizure of a cocaine consignment has been let off the hook following his cooperation that led to the arrest of the real owner of the drug, Mr. Egbo Emmanuel Maduka, who in his statement accepted ownership of the consignment and absolved Lawal of any complicity.

While commending officers and men of the MMIA Command of the Agency for the series of seizures and arrests in the past week, Gen. Marwa asked them not to rest on their oars, adding that “we must all remain fully prepared and proactive at all times if we have to battle this scourge to a standstill.”

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