Navy Arrests Suspected Economic Saboteurs, Recovers Cannabis, Rice Worth Over N110m

 

The Nigerian Navy on Thursday paraded some alleged illicit drug traffickers, foreign rice smugglers and illegal dealers in oil bunkering.

Rear Admiral Bashir Mohammed, the Commander of the NNS BEECROFT, disclosed this while parading the suspects in Lagos.

He warned those he described as economic saboteurs to take their activities off Nigerian waterways.

“We arrested some suspected criminals involved in different kinds of crime. This includes illegal bunkering of petroleum products, movement of cannabis popularly known as Indian hemp, and smuggling of rice,” Mohammed said.

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The 413 bags of foreign rice is estimated to be worth over N13 million, while the cannabis bagged in 261 large sacs, is estimated to be worth N100 million.

The suspected oil bunkers, the naval commander stated, were arrested with 125 drums each with 250 litres capacity of the Petroleum Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol.

Real Admiral Mohammed said the petroleum products estimated to take about three tankers could be dangerous to car engines.

“You have a large quantity of foreign rice smuggled into Nigeria using boats. We have over 400 bags. We are very serious about the rice issue because of the Federal Government’s economic policy on the non-importation of rice and we are to produce our own rice. So these are economic saboteurs.

“One of the most disturbing aspects of it is that most of them are foreigners from our neighbouring countries who come into this country and be involved in this heinous crime,” he added.

The naval officer promised to hand over the goods and suspects to the relevant agencies – the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for necessary action.

“NNS BEECROFT will not tolerate any act of crime in our water,” he warned. “Anyone involved will be brought to book.”

All the suspects paraded are said to be arrested during the yuletide.

See more photos below:

 

Niger Republic Makes Record Cocaine Seizure, Arrests Mayor

Seized cocaine is seen on a table at the premises of the Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (Octris) in Niamey on January 5, 2022. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP
Seized cocaine is seen on a table at the premises of the Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (Octris) in Niamey on January 5, 2022. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

Police in Niger said Wednesday they had seized a record 214 kilogrammes (471 pounds) of cocaine in the country’s northern desert and arrested a local mayor and his driver as they allegedly tried to drive to Libya with the haul.

The drug, as well as the two suspects and their vehicle, were brought before the press in Niamey by the Sahel nation’s drug agency OCRTIS after the operation on Sunday.

Police following the trail of a quantity of drugs smuggled in from Mali found 214.6 kilos of cocaine in a municipal car from Fachi, whose mayor was also aboard, OCRTIS spokeswoman Nana Aichatou Ousmane Bako said.

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The car was heading to Dirkou, which lies close to the border with Libya, she said.

“It’s the first time that our country has seized such a big quantity of cocaine,” she said, adding that the drugs’ final destination was Europe, where it had an estimated street value of more than $19 million (nearly 17 million euros).

Fachi is an oasis in the heart of the Tenere desert, located more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) from the capital Niamey and 450 kms from Agadez, the biggest town in Niger’s remote desert north.

The main industries in Fachi are trading in salt and dates.

Drug seizures have become frequent in Niger’s north, which has gained a reputation for multiple types of trafficking, including gun-running and migrant smuggling.

AFP

Saudi-Bound Woman Excretes 80 Pellets Of Cocaine At Abuja Airport

Suspected drug trafficker Adisa Afusat Olayinka

 

A woman heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The woman, according to a statement signed on Monday by NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi was arrested for ingesting 80 pellets of cocaine.

“The 46-year-old Mrs. Adisa Afusat Olayinka who lives in Ibafo, Ogun state hails from Ilorin, in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State.

“She was arrested on Wednesday 24th November at the boarding screening area of the airport during an outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight 1418. She was subsequently taken into custody where she excreted 80 pellets of the illicit drug between Wednesday and Saturday, 27th Nov,” the statement read in part.

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Olayinka during interviews by the NDLEA explained that she saved N2.5million over a period of one year to buy the drugs in bits from six different people at Akala, Mushin area of Lagos.

The suspect further said she was trading in clothes but had to borrow N1million from three persons to make up the money used to buy the drugs, adding that she spent another N1million to renew her passport, visa, and buy return flight tickets.

“She said she was encouraged to traffic the drugs by a woman she met during her last Umrah trip to Saudi Arabia in 2019. She added that she needed to raise N7million for In Vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment due to pressure from people because she’s been married for 28 years without a child due to fertility challenges.”

Suspected drug trafficker

Meanwhile, another trafficker, Inusa Abdulrazaki was arrested with 101 wraps of Heroin weighing 1.3 kilograms on Friday 19th Nov. at Gate C -Departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to the statement, Abdulrazaki was arrested on his way to Italy via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines.

“The drugs were concealed inside cassava flour popularly called gari. The following day Saturday 20th Nov, NDLEA operatives at the airport during a routine cargo search at NAHCO export shed intercepted an abandoned consignment of khat 17.90kg.”

While commending the officers and men of the NAIA and MMIA commands, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Mohammed Buba Marwa urged them to always stay two steps ahead of the drug cartels.

Drug Dealer Behind Cocaine Hidden In Lagos Airport Toilet Arrested

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrest suspected drug dealers.

 

A Brazil-based drug dealer, Okafor Okwudili Moses has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over 2.55 kilograms of cocaine recovered from a toilet at the E-Arrival hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos.

NDLEA’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, confirmed this in a statement on Sunday.

According to Mr Babafemi, the drug was discovered in the toilet of the airport on Friday 12th November after it was dumped there by a trafficker who was obviously scared of being caught by narcotic officers positioned at the airport.

The following day, Saturday, November 13, the actual owner of the consignment, Okafor arrived at the airport from Brazil via an Ethiopian Airline and was promptly arrested.

While being interviewed in custody, he confirmed he is the owner of the seized illicit drug.

In other interdiction operations across the country, over 6,043.857 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs were recovered in five states of Adamawa, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Ebonyi with more than two hectares of cannabis farms destroyed.

A suspected fake security agent, Abdullahi Mohammed, who claimed to be serving in one of the security formations in Mubi, Adamawa state was arrested with four blocks of Cannabis Sativa weighing 4kg along Bazza- Michika road. In the same vein, four other suspects were arrested at different locations in Jimeta, Yola North LGA, with assorted substances such as Cannabis, Diazepam, Exol- 5 and Tramadol tablets.

In Ondo state, three persons: Alabi Idowu; Oluwatomipe Olorundare and Finity Sunday were arrested on Monday 15th November and a total of 2,771kgs of Cannabis recovered from them at Oke Ogun camp, Ipele, Owo LGA, while 59-year-old Mrs. Joy Peter was nabbed with over 39kg cannabis and Tramadol tablets on Wednesday 17th Nov.

Similarly, over 2, 832kg of drugs were seized and more than two hectares of cannabis farms destroyed in parts of Ekiti state. While 2,582kg of Cannabis was recovered on Tuesday 16th November from Itapaji forest, Ipao, Ikole LGA, 250kg was seized from Ise forest, Ise-Orun LGA where the cannabis farm was also destroyed on Thursday 18th Nov.

Meanwhile, in Ebonyi, 29-year-old Ivoh Chukwuemeka accompanied by his girlfriend Ogbonna Peace, 18, was intercepted along Enugu-Abakaliki expressway with 20.357kg cannabis on Friday 19th Nov. Similarly, 377.5kg cannabis was seized from at least two suspects: Lucky Okhian and Aaron Monday in Owan West LGA as well as Okpokhumi forest in Owan East LGA of Edo state.

Reacting to the arrest of Okafor and other suspects as well as the seizures from the states, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men involved in the operations across the commands for sustaining the heat on drug cartels in the country.

“We are proving to the bad guys and merchants of death that we’ll not stay a step ahead of them but two steps in this game, and this we must sustain as we prepare to go into the new year,” he declared.

Court Grants NDLEA’s Request To Seize Ship Used To Import Cocaine, Detain 29 Suspects

A photo combination of the vessel.

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the application by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for the interim attachment of a vessel MV Chayaneenaree used to import 32.9 kilograms of cocaine into Nigeria through the Apapa Seaport in Lagos.

NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemin noted in a statement on Sunday that besides the attachment order, the court also granted NDLEAs request to detain the master of the ship, Mr. Tanahan Krilerk, and 21 foreign crewmembers as well as seven Nigerians arrested in connection to the case.

The anti-narcotic agency had on October 13 intercepted the ship at the Apapa Seaport following intelligence from international partners and support from other security forces such as the Nigerian Navy, Customs, DSS, and the police.

A thorough search of the ship led to the recovery of 30 parcels containing cocaine which weighed 32.9kg.

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A photo combination of the vessel.

 

Investigations into the seizure have been yielding more arrests of suspected local collaborators, as a result of which the Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) on Tuesday 26th directed that an application to attach the ship and detain the suspects for two weeks pending the conclusion of investigation and filing of criminal charges against suspects be filed in court.

The application in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1518/2021, which was filed by the agency’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Joseph Nbone Sunday on Thursday 28th October was granted the following day Friday 29th October by Hon. Justice A.O. Awogboro.

According to the court ruling, an order of interim attachment was granted to the Federal Government of Nigeria over the Vessel MV Chayaneenaree used as an instrumentality of unlawful transportation and importation of 32.9 kilograms of cocaine seized by the applicant aboard the vessel on 13th October 2021 at Apapa Port pending investigation and filing of the charge and prosecution.

An order of remand was further granted to the Applicant to remand the Master of the Vessel, Mr. Tanahan Krilerk and 21 other crew members of the said Vessel and 7 other persons arrested in connection with the case for a period of fourteen days pending investigation and or filing of a criminal charge.

The case was thereafter adjourned till 25th November 2021 for the report of investigation.

NDLEA Intercepts 24,311KG Of Heroin, Codeine In Lagos

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted over 24, 311 kilograms of heroin, codeine, Arizona, and Colorado variants of cannabis in fresh drug busts at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, and the Tincan seaport, Apapa, Lagos state.

The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

He said the first seizure was on Friday, September 3, at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA where two consignments containing 10.350kg heroin and 25.2kg cannabis from South Africa were intercepted.

In series of sting operations between September 4 and 6, in different parts of Lagos, four suspects were arrested including Mrs. Bello Kafayat Ayo who was picked from Shino Street, in the Palmgroove area of the state.

At the Tincan seaport, Apapa, narcotic officers intercepted a 40ft container loaded with 22,590 kilograms of Barcadin Codeine syrup on Monday, September 6, following intelligence received from international partners on the container since May 2021.

“The container was also found to include 4,020.03kg of analgesic tablets and 47 cartons of insulated hot pots used to conceal the illicit drugs, all imported from India. Equally, on Friday, September 10, a consignment of Colorado weighing 17.5kg and hidden inside a Grand Caravan Dodge vehicle shipped in a 40ft container from Montreal, Canada, was also intercepted and seized at the Tincan port,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old identified as Bee Okoro has been arrested in Abuja for producing and selling drugged candies and cookies.

 

This combination photo shows some of the drugs seized by the NDLEA in various states across the country between September 1 and 10, 2021.

 

A 27-year-old dispatch rider, Idewo Raimi who handles door-to-door delivery for her was also arrested.

The suspects who were arrested at the Garki Area 11 on Friday, September 10, with a number of their drugged products and 400grams of Loud and Arizona, confessed they have been in the business for over a year.

In Edo State, a total of 1,425.2 kilograms of compressed blocks of cannabis sativa were seized in a raid on Aviosi outskirt, close to Uzebba, Owan West LGA, on Monday, September 6, while on the same day one Yahaya Mamman was nabbed along the Zaria-Danja road, Kaduna with 10.3kg Tramadol and 60.5kg Exol-6.

The previous day, Thursday, September 5, one Thank God Danladi was arrested at Tudun Wada area of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital with 44.2kg of cannabis.

In the same vein, NDLEA operatives in Kwara State on Tuesday, September 7 arrested a 36-year-old lady, Yusuf Sherifat, who recently completed a jail sentence following her conviction by a Federal High Court in Ilorin for dealing in 22 grams of crack cocaine.

Her latest arrest along Specialist Hospital Road, Alagbado, Ilorin, followed intelligence that she has resumed the sale of crack cocaine in the Ilorin metropolis.

“This time around, she devised another means of delivering drugs along the road to known customers who contact her via telephone calls,” the agency said.

In Gombe, raids across the state between September 1 and 10 led to the arrest of at least nine drug dealers, from who assorted illicit drugs weighing over 150kg were recovered.

One of the raids led to the interception of a truck loaded with 128KG of psychotropic substances coming from Onitsha, Anambra State along the Gombe-Yola road.

Reacting to the latest drug busts at the Lagos airport, Tincan seaport, and across the FCT, Edo, Kaduna, Taraba, Kwara, and Gombe states, Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the commanders, officers, and men of the commands for their resilience and bravery.

He said the series of arrests and seizures across the country further affirm NDLEA’s zero tolerance for production, trafficking, and abuse of any illicit substance, warning that drug dealers who are yet to have a change of heart must be ready to contend with the new NDLEA.

NDLEA Intercepts Drugs Going To Italy And Turkey, Arrests Suspects

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Saturday 31st July 2021 intercepted drugs headed from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA in Ikeja, Lagos, to various destinations in Italy and Turkey.

First, a male passenger, Egbon Osarodion going to Milan, Italy was arrested at the airport’s Gate A departure hall during outward clearance of passengers on Egypt airline with different quantities of 225mg Tramadol and Rohypnol concealed in foil papers wrapped in a polyethylene bag.

Another suspect, Echendu Jerry Maduakolam, an intending male passenger going to Istanbul was arrested at Gate A departure hall of the MMIA on Tuesday 27th July during outward clearance of Egypt airline to Turkey with 78grams of cannabis mixed with dried bitter leaves.

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In a similar vein, NDLEA operatives on the same day, recovered 35 wraps of cocaine from the underwear of a lady, Okafor Ebere Edith during the outward clearance of passengers on Air Cotevoire, to Monrovia, Liberia from MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

The suspect who tucked the pellets of cocaine in her underwear to beat security checks at the Airport was however picked up for search and questioning during which the wraps of the illicit drug were found on her. During the preliminary interview, she claimed her desire to make money pushed her into drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, acting on credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives from Kontagora Area command of the Agency in the early hours of Thursday 29th July 2021 raided a warehouse at Mailefe village in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger state, where drug supplies for bandits operating in parts of the state were stored.

After a thorough search of the warehouse, 125 bags of Cannabis Sativa were recovered while a man seen praying in front of the house fled into the forest when he sighted the narcotics officers from afar.

VIDEO: NDLEA Recovers 35 Wraps Of Cocaine From Lady’s Underwear At Lagos Airport

 

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Saturday 31st July 2021, recovered 35 wraps of cocaine from the underwear of a lady, Okafor Ebere Edith during the outward clearance of passengers on Air Cotevoire, to Monrovia, Liberia from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

The suspect who tucked the pellets of cocaine in her underwear to beat security checks at the Airport was however picked up for search and questioning during which the wraps of the illicit drug were found on her. During the preliminary interview, she claimed her desire to make money pushed her into drug trafficking.

Another suspect, Echendu Jerry Maduakolam, an intending male passenger going to Istanbul was arrested at Gate A departure hall of the MMIA on Tuesday 27th July during outward clearance of Egypt airline to Turkey with 78grams of cannabis mixed with dried bitter leaves.

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On the same day, another intending male passenger, Egbon Osarodion going to Milan, Italy, was arrested at the airport’s Gate A departure hall during outward clearance of passengers on Egypt airline with different quantities of 225mg Tramadol and Rohypnol concealed in foil papers wrapped in a polyethylene bag.

Meanwhile, acting on credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives from Kontagora Area command of the Agency in the early hours of Thursday 29th July 2021 raided a warehouse at Mailefe village in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger state, where drug supplies for bandits operating in parts of the state were stored.

After a thorough search of the warehouse, 125 bags of Cannabis Sativa were recovered while a man seen praying in front of the house fled into the forest when he sighted the narcotic officers from afar.

Chairman/ Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the commanders, officers, and men of the MMIA and Niger state commands of the Agency for their continued efforts in tracking down traffickers of illicit drugs in their areas of responsibility. He charged them and their counterparts in other commands to remain focussed and resolute in pursuit of the goal to rid Nigeria of illicit substances and drug-related criminalities.

Cocaine Worth $1 Million Washes Up On Tonga Beach

Two consignments of cocaine, which were hidden inside waterproof bags with lifejackets attached, washed up on pebble beaches.

 

 

Cocaine worth more than $1 million has washed up on a Tongan beach, with police scouring nearby shores for similar illicit packages on Thursday. 

Residents discovered the drugs in the Pacific nation’s northern Vava’u group of islands and handed them over to the authorities.

Acting deputy police commissioner Halatoa Taufa said the police were working with the navy to scour areas of interest after the discovery.

“There is a possibility that more packages may turn up on the beach and we ask any members of the public to immediately contact police if they found or knew anyone to have found further drugs,” he said.

Taufa said the packages were similar to those found in Vava’u in the past.

The wreck of the drug yacht JeReVe was discovered on a remote atoll in 2012, with blocks of cocaine worth up to $120 million.

In 2017, the French navy intercepted a yacht carrying $100 million worth of cocaine near Tongan waters.

The following year, police found cocaine worth $13 million on an outlying island.

Tonga has been listed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as “geographically disadvantaged” because it is on the route used by illicit drug manufacturers in Asia and South America to reach prime markets in Australia and New Zealand.

Court Orders Remand Of Fmr Local Govt Vice-Chairman In Lagos

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered that the former Vice Chairman of Lagos Island Local Government Area, Asekun Sakiru Kehinde, be remanded at the correctional centre following his arraignment on a charge of allegedly exporting 1,000 kilogrammes of cocaine.

Justice Ayokunle Faji gave the order on Wednesday after Kehinde pleaded not guilty to one count bordering on the offence.

The defendant was arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The NDLEA prosecutor, Abu Ibrahim, told the judge that Kehinde had committed the offence on July 7, 2021, during the outward clearance of passengers on a Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from Lagos to London-Heathrow, at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos.

The court heard that the defendant, “without lawful authority exported 1,000 kilogramme of cocaine, a narcotic drug” that is prohibited in the country.

Following Kehinde’s plea, his counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Supo Shasore informed the judge of a pending bail application.

He, therefore, asked the court to admit the defendant to bail on liberal terms, noting that the offence for which he was charged is a bailable one.

But the prosecution counsel opposed the application. Citing the gravity of the offence, he asked the court to refuse the bail application.

Justice Faji then adjourned his ruling till July 16 and ending the ruling, he ordered the remand of the defendant in custody.

Law Enforcement Officer, 6 Others Arrested For Dealing In Drugs

 

A serving officer of a law enforcement agency, Popoola Abayomi has been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for selling assorted illicit drugs to students of a Federal University and cultists in Ogun State.

The drug dealer who serves in the Lagos State Command of the security agency (name withheld) was arrested on Wednesday 15th June 2021 after days of surveillance on his wife’s shop used as his sales point in the Camp area of Abeokuta.

One of his salesmen, a motorcycle rider who is known simply as Ogah was trailed to the location at about 8pm and arrested with six pinches of Colorado weighing 1.17grams.

Popoola who has been on the Agency’s watch list was nabbed with different illicit drugs including codeine -17 bottles; cannabis -22.26 grams; tramadol 230 -98 grams; 61 tablets of flunitrazepam -23.72 grams; 113 tablets of molly -48.16 grams and sex drops -43.92 grams.

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Authorities say after the arrest of the two suspects, some student union officials of the institution blocked the NDLEA team with their official vehicle. The narcotic agents however restrained themselves and after hours of standoff succeeded in moving the suspects to custody.

In a similar vein, one Adelodun Kamaldeen has been arrested by operatives of the Oyo State Command of the Agency at General Area, Ilorin, Kwara State following the interception of a parcel containing cocaine and heroin that weighed 10.5grams and 4.8grams respectively on 13th June.

The following day, two ladies; Mary Peter, 40, and Mercy Oladele, 39, were arrested at Total Garden, Ibadan when NDLEA operatives acting on a tip-off, intercepted their commercial Micra car.



The two women were arrested with seven bags of cannabis weighing 77.23kg brought in from Ogbese, Ondo State, to supply a man they simply identified as Alhaji. According to them, they had earlier supplied the same Alhaji two bags before coming with the seven bags they were caught with.

On Friday 18th June, operatives of the Oyo State Command acting on intelligence also raided the residence of one Alhaji Faruq at Elebu area, Akala expressway, Oluyole LGA, Ibadan, where they recovered 43 ampoules of methylphenidate.

In Kaduna State, a drug trafficker, Segun Abraham was arrested at the Panteka area of the state on 17th June with 211.500kg of skunk heading to Kano state.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian returning from Pakistan, Ezenyeche Kingsley Ebuka has been arrested by NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos with five pellets of heroin weighing 250grams discovered in his anus.

The suspect had arrived at the ‘D’ arrival hall of the airport on 14th June on a Turkish airline flight from Pakistan with the illicit drug inserted in his anus. He however failed to beat the eagle eyes of narcotic officers during the inward clearance of passengers on the flight.

While commending the Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna, and the MMIA Commands of the Agency for sustaining the offensive action against illicit drug trafficking and the cartels running it, Gen. Marwa warned that the NDLEA will not spare any law enforcement agent hiding under the privilege of his uniform to engage in narcotic criminal business.

“Those who think they can sabotage ongoing efforts to rid Nigeria of the menace of illicit drug trafficking and abuse hiding behind the façade of their uniforms should better think twice because they’ll have NDLEA to contend with. We’ll not only arrest and expose them but we’ll equally prosecute them and seize all assets acquired through the proceeds of their criminal act”, he warned.




 

US Court Rules Against Sentence Reduction For Low-Level Crack Offenders

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that low-level crack cocaine offenders are not eligible to have their prison sentences reduced.

Sentences for crack cocaine offenders have been criticized as racially discriminatory but the nine justices on the nation’s highest court said they were not in a position to intervene.

The much harsher sentences handed out for crack cocaine over powder cocaine under tough 1980s war-on-drugs guidelines have been blamed for fueling the stark racial disparity in US prisons.

A gram of crack cocaine was treated like 100 grams of powder cocaine under a 1986 law.

Congress sought to address the disparity in 2010 by making the ratio 18 to 1, but it did not make the law retroactive.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump signed the “First Step Act” which would apply the lesser sentences to those convicted between 1986 and 2010.

But it was not clear whether the relief applied to low-level offenders such as Tarahrick Terry, a Black man whose case went before the Supreme Court.

Terry, 33, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2008 for possession of 3.9 grams of crack cocaine.

He asked for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act but the court ruled that the law did not apply to his situation.

“Unfortunately, the text will not bear that reading,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a separate opinion. “Fortunately, Congress has numerous tools to right this injustice.”

Crack cocaine use was rampant in some African American communities at the time the law was passed in the 1980s, and Black men in particular were severely impacted by the harsher sentences.