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NDLEA Busts Couple Operating Cocaine Cartel Between India, Nigeria

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested four members of a cocaine cartel operating between India and Nigeria. The syndicate’s assets, including a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and two houses, have been traced and sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

The NDLEA’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, announced the arrests and the ongoing efforts to dismantle the cartel.

“Two other members of the syndicate, Imran Olalekan and Ishola Olalekan, were arrested on April 3, 2024, following their bid to export 3.40kg of cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.”

Imran Olalekan was the courier for the drug consignment, while Ishola Olalekan was his recruiter. Investigations revealed that the head of the cartel is Alhaji Kazeem Owoalade, who resides in India under the name Abdul Qassim Balogun. Owoalade and his wife, Rashidat Owoalade, have been declared wanted by the NDLEA in connection with the cocaine trade.

Babafemi explained the agency’s operations, saying, “Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed, who works directly with the baron, was arrested on May 14 at Abule Egba area of Lagos.”

Saheed was responsible for lodging Imran in a hotel before his aborted trip to Oman and for transporting him and Ishola to the Lagos airport on the day of their arrest. During a search of Saheed’s house, NDLEA operatives recovered 900 grams of phenacetine, a cutting agent for cocaine.

“He confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested,” Babafemi added.

Saheed’s arrest led to a follow-up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos. Another suspect was arrested, and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV with the number plate FKJ-773 JJ, belonging to Rashidat Owoalade, was seized. Additionally, 400 grams of cocaine, digital weighing scales, prepared suitcases for drug concealment, and other paraphernalia were recovered.

 

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