Italy-bound Heroin Intercepted at Abuja Airport

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Michael Olugbode in Abuja

A 23-year-old drug trafficker, Okoguale Douglas stopped from boarding a Milan (Italy) bound flight by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has extracted 59 wraps of heroin weighing 781.2 grammes.

Okoguale, who hails from Uromi in Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA, during an outward clearance of Ethiopian airline flight number 910 at the boarding gate of the airport enroute Abuja-Addis Ababa- Milan (Italy) after his scan proved positive for ingestion.

A statement by the NDLEA’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, yesterday said under interrogation, the suspect claimed he had been residing in Italy since 2011 after entering the country via Libya with one of his uncles.

He claims he works as a restaurant attendant in Italy where he earns €900 per month and also works as a painter on his free days and gets about €400 upon completion of any work.

He also confessed he was promised €2000 if he successfully delivers the drug in Milan, Italy.

He said he came to Nigeria on April 4, 2021 for the burial of his late father in Esan, Edo State and after spending so much during the burial, he ran out of money, a situation that made him to ask for financial support from one of his Nigerian friends resident in Italy.

Okoguale further claimed that his friend then told him he would send him money on the ground that he will collect a consignment for him from one other friend in Nigeria and promised to send him a number to call.

He said contrary to the initial arrangement, he was called by a man on Thursday April 29, 2021, who asked him to come down to Abuja where he was picked by two other unknown men from Utako area and lodged in a hotel which he claimed he doesn’t know the address.

The suspect also claimed that the two men brought the wrapped drug to him in a hotel on Friday night after which he swallowed the 59 pellets early on Saturday May 1st, 2021 and was promised €2000 on successful delivery in Milan, Italy.

Commander, NAIA Command of the Agency, Kabir Sani Tsakuwa, said efforts were still ongoing to unravel other suspects connected to the crime.

Meanwhile Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa has commended the officers and officers of the airport command for their resilience and charged them as well as their counterparts across the country to remain vigilant especially with the coming holidays to ensure that no single gramme of illicit drug is smuggled in or out of Nigeria.

He assured them he would continue to make their welfare a priority.