NDLEA declares couple wanted for running cocaine cartel from India; nabs four suspects

The agency declared the couple wanted following the arrest of four syndicate members in Lagos.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has declared a couple, Kazeem Owoalade, aka Abdul Balogun, and Rashidat Owoalade, alias Rashidat Bolarinwa, who allegedly runs a cocaine cartel from India wanted.

The NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement on Sunday that the agency declared the couple wanted following the arrest of four syndicate members in Lagos.

Mr Babafemi said a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered, and two houses already traced to them were sealed for forfeiture to the federal government.

He said two members of the syndicate, Taofeek Imran and Ishola Isiaka, were arrested on April 3, 2024.

The NDLEA spokesman said the arrest followed their bid to export 3.40kg cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos.

“While Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him as the head of the cartel.

“Investigation has now revealed Alhaji Kazeem Owoalade, whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Balogun, based in India,“ he said.

Mr Babafemi said efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations.

He said this was when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed, who worked directly with the baron, was arrested on Tuesday in the Abule Egba area of Lagos.

“It was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested,” Mr Babafemi said.

He stated that NDLEA officials recovered phenacetin, a cutting agent for cocaine weighing 900 grammes, while searching Mr Saheed’s house.

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

“His arrest led to a follow-up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos.

“This was where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and an additional 400 grams of cocaine were recovered.

“This is also in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia,“ he said.


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