The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, says it has uncovered new tricks by drug trafficking cartels to circumvent security checks.
A suspected drug trafficker, Roland Chukwudi, 37, who was apprehended for importing 2.045 kilogramme of heroin from Nairobi, Kenya, was found in possession of a fake travel ticket indicating that he was coming from China, the NDLEA said in a statement on Thursday.
Another suspect, Maduka Nnaemeka, 39, was also caught attempting to export 1.555kg of cocaine to Dubai.
Preliminary investigation by the anti-narcotic agency revealed that Mr. Chukwudi deliberately replaced his ticket with a fake one showing that he was coming from China instead of Nairobi.
The agency said this was intended to place him on a low risk profile but his expectations were dashed as the heroin concealed inside his luggage was detected during screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight.
Ahmadu Garba, NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, while explaining reasons for the falsification of the ticket, said that drugs are more expensive in Asia.
“The suspect wanted to distract the attention of officers by presenting himself as coming from China while he actually took off from Nairobi,” said Mr. Garba.
“This is because, it is economically unwise to bring narcotics from China where the price is far higher than here in Nigeria.”
Mr. Chukwudi, a trader in Onitsha, who is married with three children, said his friend introduced him into drug trafficking.
“This was the plan of my friend who introduced me into drug trafficking,” Mr. Chukwudi said.
“I sell clothes in Onitsha but my business is as good as dead due to the economic recession.
“My friend that I contacted for financial assistance requested that I bring a bag containing heroin from Nairobi. The fake ticket was the plan of my friend who assured me that I will never be caught.”
Mr. Nnaemeka, an automobile parts dealer based in Aba, said family problems pushed him into drug trafficking.
“I lost goods worth N4 million few years ago and since then my life has been a shadow of itself,” said the father of two.
“I smuggled the drug for the sum of N200,000 to solve family problem.”
Muhammad Abdallah, the NDLEA Chairman, assured that the agency would continue to work hard and remain vigilant in her counter-narcotics mission.
“We are always ahead of drug barons because of our commitment to training and security vigilance in detecting and nipping every subterfuge in the bud,” he said.
“The agency will continue to sustain its dominance over drug cartels.”
The agency said the suspects, who are from Anambra State, would soon be charged to court.