Customs arrests Nigerian drug baron at border

For attempting to brave the odds against some of his men arrested for illicit drug trafficking, a national of Niger Republic is cooling his heels in customs custody, in Katsina, Katsina State.

The man (name withheld by customs), loaded 681 rolls of Tramadol, an illicit drug, in a Passat station wagon, impounded at Nigerian border in the state while attempting to smuggle the drugs into the country. He allegedly offered security officials on duty 435,000 CFA to look the other way for him to continue his journey but luck ran out on him.

Customs Area Controller, Kaduna/Katsina States Command, Comptroller Abubakar Yerima Gadam, who confirmed the incident, said the vehicle, drugs, money and the suspect were impounded, while about five suspects in previous arrests were in court.

The arrest was made on February 17, 2014, said Gadam, while parading the middle aged crime boss. The man is reputed be the brain behind most of the drugs smuggled through Katsina State into Nigeria from Niger Republic.

“This notorious drug courier, who happens to be a national of Niger Republic has been on our wanted list for a long time,” he said.

He said drug smuggling across the border would be drastically reduced following the arrest of the kingpin of the syndicate.

Gadam said the command had over five truckloads of impounded illicit drugs in its warehouse while no less than eight truck loads out of the seized drugs were destroyed by the Customs authority in collaboration with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) late last year.

“It is worthy to mention that the command made 311 seizures from January to December, 2013, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N997,653,456 with goods such as rice, vehicles, pharmaceuticals (Tramadol among others) and motorcycles arrested at different locations, while this year, January, 15 seizures were recorded with DPV of N10,159,550,” he stated.

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