Michael Olugbode in Abuja
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a fake couple — Mr. Ilonzeh Onyebuchi and Mrs. Ilonzeh Nonyelum — who claimed to be travelling to India on medical treatment for ingesting 184 wraps of cocaine weighing 3.32 kilogrammes with 100 grammes of same drug also concealed in the woman’s private part.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, said the two suspects were intercepted at the Screening Point 1, Terminal 1 of the international wing of the Lagos airport last Tuesday while attempting to board an Ethiopian airline flight to India.
He said though their travel documents show consistency in their names and depict them as a couple, an NDLEA officer however decided to subject them to body scan which confirmed they both ingested drugs as a result of which they were later placed on excretion observation at the agency’s facility.
He said: “While their travel documents identify the man as Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi and the lady to be Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum, preliminary investigation revealed that the intending passengers were not a couple but obtained the travel documents in the same surname to beat security checks at the airport. The lady later gave her real name as Ngogbike Nkechi.”
Babafemi said during interrogation, the woman confessed that she was recruited in her church in Aba, Abia State where she lives.
He said: “The suspect, Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum (aka Ngogbike Nkechi) stated further that she is a divorcee, and that Kingsley with whom she was travelling is not her husband but connected only for the purpose of the illicit drug business trip.
She revealed that her arranged husband, Kingsley, brought the pellets of cocaine to her in her room to ingest in the hotel where they were both lodged in separate rooms the previous day, Monday 31st July.”
Babafemi disclosed that after their arrest, a thorough search conducted on her led to the discovery of a big size wrap of cocaine that weighed 100 grammes she inserted in her private part. She confessed that she was promised $5,000 upon successful delivery of the drug in India.
In his own statement, Kingsley, who said he was into clothing business in Onitsha, Anambra State, claimed he was promised $2,000 after a successful delivery of the drug in India.
Babafemi said a further search of the agency’s crime data base revealed that Kingsley also obtained his travel documents with fake identity for the trip, adding that the data established that he was arrested by NDLEA operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on March 19, 2022 for ingesting 100 wraps of cocaine weighing 2.24 kilogrammes upon his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on board an Ethiopian airline flight.
His travel documents then contained his real name, Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian.
He noted that after his arrest at the Abuja airport on March 19, 2022 along with another suspect, Iro Elvis Uche, who also ingested 65 wraps of cocaine with a gross weight of 1.38 kilogrammes, Uwaezuoke was subsequently arraigned before Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Abuja with charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022.
He was eventually granted bail by the court pending the conclusion of his trial. He is still on the court bail when he was arrested at the Lagos airport for a similar offence last Tuesday.
He said: “While Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi (aka Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian) excreted a total of 82 wraps of cocaine with a gross weight of 1.82 kilogrammes in five excretions, Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum (aka Ngogbike Nkechi) egested 101 wraps in four excretions with a big size wrap of the substance recovered from her private part, all weighing 1.5 kilogrammes.”
He also disclosed that NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) attached to courier companies in Lagos have intercepted various quantities of dextromethorphan mixed with heroin; methamphetamine; dimethyl sulfone and cannabis concealed in different objects going to Europe.
He added that 272 grammes of dextromethorphan mixed with heroin going to Greece were recovered from white neck beads; 665 grammes of cannabis being shipped to Hong Kong were hidden in bars of Dudu Osun bathing soap; with 261 grammes of dimethyl sulfone going to New Zealand hidden in reels of weaving threads and 1.5 kilogrammes of methamphetamine also going to New Zealand neatly packed in an MP3 player after all the parts were removed and the substance stuffed as replacement.
In Kano State, a woman and four men — Ladi Peter, 47; Umar Salisu, 38; Ahmed Naheeb, 36; Ibrahim Umar, 42, and Musa Suleman, 43 — were arrested in connection with the seizure of 977.7 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa by NDLEA operatives along Zaria-Kano road, Kwanar Dangora last week.
In the same vein, 2,450 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa were recovered from the warehouse of a fleeing suspect, Usman Nar, at Madinatu area of Jere Local Government Area, Borno State Saturday.
He also revealed that no fewer than 57,450 pills of tramadol, rohypnol and exol-5, as well as 4,082 bottles of codeine-based syrup were recovered from a suspect, Joseph Usman, in a commercial bus coming from Onitsha, Anambra State to Abuja along Abaji-Abuja highway last Friday.
In his reaction to the seizures and arrests of the past week, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), commended the officers and men of MMIA, Kano, FCT and Borno Commands of the agency, as well as those of DOGI for their diligence, vigilance and professionalism in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He however charged them and their compatriots across the country not to rest on their oars.