Illegal Drug Smuggling: Customs Intercepts Ambulance With N2.8m Tramadol At Apapa Port, Arrests Two Suspects
The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded an ambulance loaded with 10 cartons of 225miligram of tramadol worth N2.8 million at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
The Hyundai ambulance with registration number LND605XW, which was usually stationed at the port complex for medical emergencies and belonging to Medbury Medical Services, an industrial medical service provider, was intercepted with the drugs while trying to smuggle it out of the ports in an emergency manner.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Abba-Kura, who paraded the vehicle and the drugs in Apapa port yesterday, said two suspects, Michael Ajibade (driver) and Olatunde Emmanuel (escort) have been arrested in connection with the seizure.
According to Abba Kura, further investigations revealed that the drugs were stolen from a container waiting for examination inside the port, noting that 211 cartons were missing from the containers, while the balance is yet to be traced.
He put the duty paid value of the drugs at N59.4 million, stating that investigations are on going to further uncover those behind the deal.
He said, “On the night of Friday 12, July, 2019, at about 2300 hours (11.00pm), my officers on routine surveillance intercepted an ambulance suspected to be laden with offending articles of trade. Upon examination, the ambulance was discovered to be carrying 10 cartons of 225mg Tramadol tablets valued at N2.8 million.
“An investigation into the source of the stolen tramadol revealed that the drugs were pilfered from an undeclared container. Physical examination further revealed that 211 cartons of the drugs were missing from the container.
“It is regrettable to state that while the Customs is working round the clock to free this country of illicit goods, some recalcitrant and unpatriotic citizens are not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage our efforts.”
He disclosed that the container, shipped from India as general merchandise, was neither declared nor positioned for examination but on examination after the suspects’ interception and further revelation, its original seal was found to have been broken.
He assured that anyone caught wanting in connection with the deal would be charged to court of competent jurisdiction for proper prosecution.
The driver, Ajibade – an elderly man – however denied knowledge of the content of the 10 cartons, stating that his yet-to-be-identified principal promised him N2,000 to take the items across the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) gate, just as the dockworker, who escorted the articles, said he was promised N50,000.