Hajj 2024: NDLEA Arrests Intending Pilgrims With Cocaine Consignments

In a significant operation ahead of the ongoing Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has apprehended four individuals attempting to smuggle cocaine.

 The arrests took place at the Emerald Hotel in the Ladipo area of Oshodi, Lagos State, where the suspects were preparing to board their flight.

The suspects, identified as Usman Kamorudeen, 31; Olasunkanmi Owolabi, 46; Fatai Yekini, 38; and Ayinla Kemi, 34, were caught in the act of ingesting cocaine wraps. 

According to a statement from Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy for the NDLEA in Abuja, the agency’s operatives seized 200 pellets of cocaine weighing 2.20 kilograms during the intelligence-led raid.

Babafemi detailed that the suspects were lodged in two rooms within the hotel, where each room contained 100 wraps of cocaine. “Two suspects were to swallow 100 wraps each,” the statement revealed, highlighting the meticulous planning behind the smuggling attempt.

NDLEA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), praised the Lagos State Command for their effective operation. 

He emphasised the agency’s commitment to combating drug trafficking, particularly attempts to use the Hajj pilgrimage as a cover for illegal activities.

 “The agency will continue to spread its dragnet to track, trace, and apprehend criminal elements who may want to hide under pilgrimage to carry out their nefarious activities capable of denting the image of the country,” Marwa stated.

Marwa also assured that the NDLEA will collaborate with counterparts in Saudi Arabia to ensure that recipients of seized illicit drug consignments are identified and dealt with accordingly. 

This cooperation aims to dismantle international drug trafficking networks and safeguard the integrity of the Hajj pilgrimage.

This operation underscores the NDLEA’s ongoing efforts to curb drug trafficking and ensure that individuals exploiting religious pilgrimages for criminal purposes are brought to justice. 

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