Officials of the Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency [NDLEA] have foiled an attempt to smuggle cannabis on one of the buses of Edo City Transport Service.
A 40-year-old graduate of Political Science and suspected member of a notorious cannabis smuggling cartel was also apprehended by the agency.
The suspect was found with 48 blocks of compressed dried weed of cannabis sativa weighing 37 kilogrammes packed in two bags in the passenger bus. The drug has an estimated street value of ₦370,000.
In a statement ontained by DailyWitness on Monday, NDLEA commander in the state, Mr Buba Wakawa, who confirmed the arrest, gave the name of the suspect as Raymond Ojero, saying that the bus departed Iki town in Owan East local government area of the state on its way to Benin City, the state capital but it was intercepted along Auchi road by Idogbo bypass based on intelligence report.
“A search operation was conducted and two bags were found to contain dried weeds of cannabis sativa. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the drug belongs to one Raymond Ojero who hails from Delta State. It was also gathered that the suspect bought the drug at Uzebba and was on his way to Onitsha where he intended to board another vehicle to Kano his final destination. The command is working on strategies to prevent the use of ECTS and other transport companies in drug trafficking,” Wakawa stated.
In his confessional statement, the suspect accepted ownership of the drug stating that he decided to smuggle cannabis because of the loss he incurred in his cattle business.
“I suffered a loss of half a million naira, my entire capital in my cattle business. As a result, a friend introduced me to cannabis business that it will help me to recover my lost money. I am a graduate of Political Science from Delta State University. It was my financial predicament that made me smuggle cannabis and I regret my action,” he stated.
NDLEA commander said that the command has a good working relationship with the Edo City Transport Service and will continue to enhance strategies in apprehending traffickers planning to smuggle drugs through the transport company. He also vowed to arrest other members of the cannabis smuggling cartel that packages cannabis into blocks similar to loaves of bread.
The Transport Manager of ECTS, Mr Ramond Etoigbe who commented on the arrest said that the company has a strong policy against drug trafficking and promised to partner with the anti-drug agency. In his words, “some of the measures taken to prevent the use of our vehicles in drug trafficking include an effective search of luggage at points of entry as well as the prompt report of suspicious luggage and passengers to the NDLEA.”
The statement added that the suspect is under investigation and will soon be charged to court.