• As U.S. Coast Guard offloads 12 tonnes of cocaine in Miami Beach
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted cocaine worth $278, 250,000 (N194, 775,000,000) in a warehouse at Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The Director of Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
According to him, four drug barons and the warehouse manager have been arrested in connection with the drugs.
The statement identified those arrested as Messrs Soji Jibril, 69, Emmanuel Chukwu, Wasiu Akinade, 53, Sunday Oguntelure, 53, and Kelvin Smith, 42, who is from Kingston, Jamaica.
The suspects were described as all members of an international drug syndicate that the agency has been trailing since 2018.
According to the statement, the drugs were warehoused at number 6 Olukuola crescent, Solebo Estate, Ikorodu.
After the raid of the warehouse on Sunday, September 18, “the barons were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and Monday, September 19”.
The statement added, “Preliminary investigation reveals the class A drugs were warehoused in the residential estate from where the cartel was trying to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. They were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums.”
The NDLEA also said it arrested 11 other suspects who were found to be in possession of drugs, guns and cartridges in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, (TME) Last week, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare offloaded more than 12 tonnes of cocaine at Base Miami Beach.
The Maritime Executive online reports the latest haul is worth about $470 million, the service estimated (plus roughly $4 million worth of bulk marijuana).
The drugs were seized in both the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific by four different vessels. The Coast Guard typically transloads cocaine seized at sea to a single vessel for return to homeport. Contributing vessels included the Royal Netherlands Navy’s HNLMS Groningen, working in partnership with an embarked Coast Guard boarding team; the U.S. Navy LCS USS Billings, also hosting a Coast Guard boarding team; the cutter USCGC James; and the USCGC Legare.
Multiple agencies and nations provide vessel platforms for counternarcotics operations in the busy drug trafficking zones of U.S. Southern Command, but boardings conducted by the internatonal partnership are always performed by coastguardsmen.
“I am proud of the crew’s continued devotion to duty that made this offload possible,” said Cdr. Jeremy M. Greenwood, commanding officer of Legare. “Through the coordinated efforts of the Legare, the LEDETs, HNLMS Groningen, CGC James, and the USS Billings crews, we significantly contributed to the counter-drug mission and the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations.”
The operation is coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida. Maritime interdiction in the Caribbean Sea is coordinated by the Seventh Coast Guard District; the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard runs operations near the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba; and the on-scene work in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is coordinated by the Eleventh Coast Guard District in California.
The Legare is a 270-foot Famous-class cutter based out of Portsmouth. She was commissioned in 1990, and like other vessels in her class, she is due to be relieved by an Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) when the new class delivers. The OPC is the U.S. Coast Guard’s highest aquisition priority.