Cocaine In Unthinkable Packages

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Nigerians
were recently stunned when some neatly packed and appetising roasted chickens,
which had arrived the country from Brazil, aboard a Turkish Airline flight from
Sao Paulo, were discovered to contain hard drugs.  The drugs were
concealed in the roasted chickens, with the intention to fool security
officials. It was a new way drug traffickers devised to pull the wool on the
eyes of security personnel at the airport and bring in hard drugs.

The kingpin of the drugs syndicate,
Mr. Vincent Chegini Chinweuwa, had revealed that it took three days to package
the roasted chickens for onward transmission to Nigeria, adding: “I was
confident that the drug will not be detected. I’m surprised I’ve been caught.”
A conservative estimate of the street value of the drugs, which was impounded,
was put at about N24 million.

Airport Commandant of the National
Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the Murtala Muhammed International
Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Mr. Hamza Umar, had said of this: “We discovered 2.655kg
of cocaine inside roasted chickens.  It is a remarkable seizure because no
one would have imagined cocaine worth several millions inside roasted
chickens.”
Investigation revealed that drug
traffickers have, indeed, devised various new ways to bring in their merchant
of death into the country. Sometimes, they are caught. Some other times, they
succeed in beating the security dragnet at the airports and borders.
Speaking on this, Chairman/Chief
Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said: “Drug barons are becoming more and
more sophisticated in drug concealment, as recent discoveries show.  The
essence of drug concealment is to avoid detection and seizure.  In order
to prevent huge financial losses, arrests and prosecution, drug barons go the
extra mile in hiding their drugs.”
Growing sophistication
Checks revealed that gone are the days
when male drug traffickers simply ingested the stuff while their female
counterparts inserted it into their private parts. The barons are now devising
new ways of packaging drugs to beat security.
Twenty six-year-old Nzeka Christian
was nabbed by eagle-eyed anti-narcotic agents at MMIA, with drugs packed in two
big tins of tomato paste.  The street value of the drug was put at about
N5 million. According to Umar, “the two big tins of tomato paste, with 1.8kg of
methamphetamine, were found in Nzeka’s bag.  The bag contained clothes and
foodstuff, like yams, rice, beans, garri and spaghetti.  The food items
were meant to distract officers from the tomato paste.”
He added: “This is an interesting
seizure, because it is not a common place concealment. The mode is a reflection
of the sophistry of drug trafficking.  I am glad that the arrest has
prevented the execution of the suspect in Malaysia.”
Interestingly, before embarking on the
trip, Nzeka slept in the church and received prayers from his pastor for a
successful outing. “I was in the Church and my pastor prayed for me for a
successful trip,” he volunteered.
Indeed, investigations revealed that
many drug traffickers now seek spiritual help before embarking on the deadly
assigment. They contract pastors, alfas and spiritualists for help.
A source disclosed: “In the
desperation of drug traffickers to succeed in their business, many of them are
now going to pastors, alfas and spiritual people so that they can pray for them
not to be caught by anti-narcotic agents at the airports or elsewhere”. It was
gathered that many clerics of different hue are actually smiling to the bank
because they are usually well renumerated by their ‘clients’. A cleric at
Okota, Lagos, is known for praying for drug traffickers and his place is always
a beehive of activities. In the same vein, an Owerri-based pastor popularly
known as Odeshi pastor (indestructible pastor) is notorious for this. He was
operating around Bongo village before his church was pulled down recently.
Another of his ilk operates at Oko-Afo in Badagry area of Lagos.
Traffickers in illicit drugs also
conceal their goods in customised underwear and hair wigs.  Recently, Miss
Anene Blessing Iruoma, 26, and Miss Obiakor Maryam Okwudili were apprehended at
the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja for attempting to
smuggle 3.6 kilogrammes of methamphetamines in their customised brassieres,
pants and hair wig.  The destination of the duo was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
where drug traffickers pay the supreme price if caught.
Susan Eneanya, 32, was caught at the
MMIA with 900g of methamphetamine hidden in the soles of a pair of shoes. When
arrested, Susan said: “I did not know that things will turn out this way. I was
given the assurance that the drug will not be detected and that everything
would be fine.  I was told to ingest the drug, but I was afraid, so it was
hidden instead inside the sole of one of my shoes and I felt it would not be
detected.”
Twenty-five-year-old London-based
fashion designer, Animasaun Sunbo, was arrested during the screening of
passengers on a British Airways flight to London with 30 sachets of cocaine
weighing three kilogrammes inside two chocolate containers inside her bag.
Also, one of the new methods of drug
smuggling is turning cocaine into ice cream.  Martin Ikechukwu was nabbed
by NDLEA operatives at the MMIA with 9.500kg of creamy substance that tested
positive to cocaine while returning from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The parcels
containing the ‘ice cream’ cocaine were strapped round the body of four
coolers.  The street value of the drug was put at over N90 million.
Illicit drugs are also being smuggled
in cooking pots. Nwokeocha Bartholomew Chimezie, 43, an indigene of Aro-Ndizuogu,
in Imo State, was arrested at MMIA for concealing 4.1kg of heroine in cooking
pots imported from India. The suspect said: “I went to India for an eye
surgery.  In the process, I met a friend who gave me the cooking pots. He
told me that it was a gift for his sister in Nigeria that just put to bed.”
Condoms for cocaine
Drug traffickers are also putting
condoms to other uses. They use it to facilitate the ingestion of cocaine
turned from powdery substance to oily matter. Egbo Innocent Oluchukwu and Ejimbe
Christian Chidi were caught at MMIA for allegedly ingesting liquid cocaine
poured into male condoms. According to Umar: “They thought that the scanning
machine will not detect liquid cocaine, but they were wrong”.
Oluchukwu, who arrived from Tanzania,
said: “The Venezuelan who gave me the drug told me that it will be difficult
for the machine to detect liquid cocaine when ingested. I ingested 70 wraps of
the drug using water because I was desperate.”
Wine and juice
Drug cartels are equally packaging drugs
like wine and juice drinks. In other words, illicit drugs are being liquefied.
Patrick Chukwuemeka (32) was arrested at MMIA with 7.1kg of liquid cocaine
valued at N63.9 million.  The drug was emulsified and packaged as wine.
According to Giade: “The liquid
cocaine that was first intercepted was packaged to look like juice sent through
courier service from Trinidad and Tobago. In another case, it was difficult for
the machine to pick out the liquid form of cocaine in the tummy of the
trafficker, but our personnel were meticulous before our sophisticated machines
finally discovered it.”
Relay race
To evade arrest, drug traffickers
engage in some kind of relay race. Rather than take direct flights to their
destination, they make painstaking detour.  For instance, heroin known to
be trafficked from India, Pakistan and Iran, is now coming into Nigeria through
other routes, such as Tanzania.

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