Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have discovered a letter laden with heroin in Lagos.
The letter, which was sent from Bengaluru, India, on Express Mail Service (EMS) was addressed to Yunusa Amusan, 33, in Mushin, Lagos.
In a statement on Monday, the agency said the letter contained about 480 grammes of a powdery substance which tested positive for heroin.
“The thin parcels of heroin were carefully hidden in the letter in a manner that makes it difficult to detect,” the NDLEA said in the statement issued by Mitchell Ofoyeju, its spokesperson.
“This is the first case of heroin letter discovered by the anti-narcotic agency this year.”
The Chairman of the NDLEA, Muhammad Abdallah, said that the arrest was recorded following the diversification of the agency’s operations.
“The operations of the agency have been diversified to cover mail services,” said Mr. Abdallah, a retired colonel.
“Drug control is an intelligence-led operation and the NDLEA under my dispensation will spread its tentacles to all possible areas of narcotic smuggling.
“We will not relent in taking deliberate and sustained efforts towards preventing drug trafficking under any guise in the country be it by air, land and water.”
The NDLEA boss said investigations revealed that the suspect, who is in custody, allegedly connived with his uncle who lives in India to import heroin disguised as letters to Nigeria.
“Their criminal plan did not materialise due to superior intelligence gathering capacity of the agency,” he added.
Olugbenga Mabo, NDLEA’s Director of Operations and General Investigation, said the suspect was apprehended following surveillance report on his illicit drug activities.
“The illicit smuggling of narcotic drugs under the guise of letters was reported and closely monitored by the agency,” Mr. Mabo said.
“It was confirmed that Mr. Amusan was recruited by his uncle who lives in India to take delivery of heroin concealed in letters to avoid arrest by law enforcement Agents. The suspect was arrested after collecting the letter and further investigation is ongoing.”
Mr. Amusan, a technician, said he had been running errands for his uncle who lives in India.
“He used to send money and letters to me to give to his wives and friends,” Mr. Amusan said.
“Sometimes he will ask me to buy foodstuff and send to him in India and in return, he gives me money to take care and sustain myself. I am single and a native of Ogun State. After my Junior Secondary School Certificate, I could not further my education due to lack of sponsorship.
“I later learnt how to repair television sets but could not rent a shop to start my own business. The letter my uncle sent to me was opened in my presence and other officers and it was found to contain heroin.”
The NDLEA said it is prepared to prosecute the suspect and any other person linked to the case.