11th September, 2012
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has seized 24.5 kilogrammes of heroin concealed inside carpets, the agency said early Tuesday.
NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said the street value of the drug is about N294 million.
It is the first time carpets are being used to smuggle drugs into Nigeria, NDLEA said.
The consignment, described in the airway bill as Pakistani hand-knotted new woollen carpets, originated from Lahore, Pakistan.
It had left Karachi airport in an Emirate flight as unaccompanied cargo and taken to Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Shed, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
“The estimated value of the drug is N294 million. It is the first discovery of drug inside carpets in the country,” NDLEA said.
NDLEA Airport Commander Mr Hamza Umar was quoted as saying that the consignment was examined by the agency when it was abandoned by the importers.
“The suspicious cargo was monitored by undercover operatives for a week after it arrived. We decided to conduct the search when nobody came to claim it. In all, there were twelve pieces of carpets but only six contained heroin. The heroin was prepared into tiny bits inside plastic hollow treads and weaved in a way that makes it difficult to detect unless it is unfastened,” Hamza said.
He said the information on the airway bill was found to be incorrect by investigators.
NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, who described the seizure as breath-taking, promised to unveil the importers.
“The drug syndicate did their best concealing the drug but it was not good enough to go undetected. If drug barons will not lack concealment methods, we also will not be tired in detecting narcotics. This seizure is unique because it is the least place anyone will go to in search for narcotics. We shall continue with investigation until those behind the illegal shipment are brought to book,” Giade said.