The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recorded the first seizure of creamy cocaine in the country. The 9.500kg cocaine which looks like ice cream was being smuggled into the country in four big coolers by a suspected drug trafficker who is currently facing trial over unlawful importation of a kilogramme of cocaine from Brazil in 2010. The re-arrest of the 50 year old at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos has generated mixed reactions on the adequacy of the legal framework and justice dispensation in drug control.
The suspect, Martin Ikechukwu was caught with 9.500kg of creamy substance that tested positive for cocaine on his way from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Operatives of the NDLEA detected the drug following suspicion on the four giant sized water coolers. Further examination revealed the parcels of drugs after it was cut open. Four (4) parcels each of creamy cocaine were found to have been industrially strapped round the body of the four coolers.
In all a total of 16 parcels weighing 9.500kg with an estimated street value of over N90 million were recovered during search at the arrival hall of the airport.
NDLEA Airport Commander, Hamza Umar who confirmed the arrest explained that the command had been grappling with the problem of re-arrest of suspected drug traffickers who are released on bail.
“The re-arrest of persons undergoing trial for drug related charges is one of our numerous challenges. This suspect was first arrested on 23rd of February 2010 for ingesting one kilogramme of cocaine and there are several cases like this,” Hamza noted.
Commenting on the arrest and drug seizure, Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said that the arrest shows the extent to which drug barons can go in attempt to prevent drugs from being detected.
According to the NDLEA boss, “while this arrest reflects the level of desperation by drug barons, it has also raised questions on the issue of bail for drug traffickers. Certainly, the accused is unrepentant and has shown no remorse because he was first caught with 1kg and went back to smuggle 9.500kg of cocaine even when the first case is ongoing. We shall pursue this case to a logical conclusion and use it as a deterrent to others”.
The agency is also investigating the circumstances under which the suspect acquired new travel documents as well as his accomplices.
Martin Ikechukwu hails from Enugu State. He attended Army Children Primary School, Ibadan, Oyo State and Government Technical College Awka where he graduated in 1980. He said that he wanted to raise some money to enable him settle down with his family.“I travelled to Brazil in 2009 and was managing a restaurant to earn a living. Unfortunately, I was arrested when I came home in 2010. When I was granted bail, there was nobody to help me. I had no option than to smuggle drugs again because they promised to pay me the sum of 3 million naira. My intention was to settle down with my family because I am not getting younger,” Martin stated. The suspect will soon be charged to court.