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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 9 September 2021

Source: punchng.com

NDLEA seizes N6bn drug linked to M’East criminal gangs

Photo used to illustrate the story Photo used to illustrate the story

The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd), has said officials of the agency intercepted 74.119 kilogrammes of a drug valued at N6bn at the Apapa port in Lagos State.

Marwa, who spoke during a press briefing at the Radisson Hotel, Ikeja, identified the drug as Captagon, a brand of Amphetamine, adding that the drug was linked to criminal gangs in the Middle East.

He said the drug, numbering 451,807 tablets, was concealed in the rotor coil of three machines, adding that the agency’s intel revealed that the shipment was from the Middle East.

The NDLEA boss said, “The container passed through three countries and was transloaded in a North African country, but we kept track of it along with our partners.“We made the first attempt to examine the container on Thursday, August 26, 2021, and what we found inside the container were three pieces of marble polishing machines, otherwise called sanders.

“Further scrutiny on Monday, August 31, with the NDLEA sniffer dogs turned up a positive indication on the rotor coil of one of the three machines. The next day, Wednesday, September 1, 18,560 tablets of drug suspected to be Amphetamine (Captagon) weighing 3.2kg were found deeply concealed in one of the coils.

“The following day, Thursday, September 2, the other two machines were dismantled, and in all, a total of 451,807 tablets, weighing 74.119kg, were discovered hidden inside their rotor coils. Going by the street value of about $25 per tablet, the importer would have raised $11.3m, which is equivalent to N6bn.”While lamenting the impact of the drug in the hands of criminal gangs, Marwa said a fraction of the profit from its sale could be used to fuel criminalities across the country.

He noted that it was the first time the drug was brought into any African country in the South of the Sahara. According to him, the highly addictive pill, which is widely available across the Middle East, produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing them to stay awake for days, making them fearless, and predisposing them to reckless actions that put the lives of people around them in jeopardy.

“What should give any discerning Nigerian a nightmare concerning this drug is the fact that its production and sale is controlled by militias and large criminal groups in the Middle East. And beyond any doubt, Captagon has been linked to the escalation of the Syrian Civil War.

“A lot of seizures have been made since 2017, mostly in the Arabian Peninsula, and in Italy and Turkey, and the point of origin, almost all the time, was traced back to Syria and Lebanon. Lest we forget, Captagon was the name of the drug found on the phone of the French-Tunisian terrorist who killed 84 civilians in France on Bastille Day in 2016.“That is the drug we have on our hands now.

With insurgents, bandits, cultists, robbers, kidnappers and herders rampaging across the country and given the dangerous background of Captagon, it’s not difficult to guess correctly that the destination for the seized drug is none other than the camps of insurgents and bandits all over the country.

“Given the zero tolerance of the NDLEA for production, trafficking and abuse of any illicit substance, our approach to this discovery couldn’t be casual. The first arrest has been made and we’ll not rest on our oars until every person connected to this shipment is arrested,” he added.