2 July 2016
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are interrogating a South Africa-based Nigerian evangelist, John Arinze, over his attempt to smuggle 165kg of narcotics to South Africa through the Apapa port in Lagos.
The estimated value of the drugs is 1.4 billion Naira.
The drugs were hidden inside packs of melon concealed in foodstuff and cosmetics such as Gari (cassava flakes), noodles, Knorr and Maggi food seasoning, yam powder, Malt drinks, pepper, Milk, Herbal Hair Cream and Golden Morn cereals.
Other items in the container are Dermatol Hair Cream, bags of Melon, Kegs of palm oil, Beans, Biscuits, Sardine and Cartons of Orijin bitters.
During examination of the containers marked MSKU 388274-1 and MSKU 424717-0, anti-narcotics officials detected 20kg of Methamphetamine and 50kg of Ephedrine inside the first container and 72kg of Methamphetamine and 23kg of Ephedrine in the second container.
The total weight of the drugs is 165kgs.
NDLEA officers traced the drugs to 52-two-year old Arinze who was arrested in his hotel room in Lagos.
A Mercedes Benz Jeep belonging to him was also impounded at the time of arrest.
The suspect hails from Ara village, Nise in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State. Arinze who had lived in South Africa for over a decade accepted ownership of the consignment.
The suspect said in his statement that he made a big mistake by taking over the business of his deceased wife.
“I am an evangelist living in Durban, South Africa. My late wife was into drug trafficking before she died a few years ago. I made a mistake venturing into her business. It is all my fault,’’ he stated.
NDLEA spokesman, Mitchelle Ofoyeju quoted its Chairman/Chief Executive, retired Col. Muhammad Abdallah in a statement as saying that the seizure had significant influence on the campaign against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
“This is a product of careful planning and meticulous tracking of narcotic drugs movement.
“The consignments were closely monitored by our undercover agents and intercepted following the detection of narcotics by NDLEA sniffer dogs.
“This will definitely have a positive influence on Nigeria’s drug control efforts,’’ Abdallah was quoted to have said.
Abdallah added that the agency would remain meticulous in detecting drugs and prosecuting offenders.
He expressed the hope to unmask the syndicate behind the consignment and make more arrests soon.
He said Arinze would soon be charged to court.