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Friday, June 21, 2024

NDLEA goes after Lagos couple leading international drug cartel

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

A couple, Kazeem Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Balogun) and Rashidat Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), have been declared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for leading a cocaine cartel that operate between Nigeria and India.

They were declared wanted after four members of the syndicate were apprehended and a Sports Utility Vehicle as well as two houses belonging to the couple were sealed for possible forfeiture to the Federal Government in Lagos.

The manhunt against the couple was disclosed by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday through a statement made available to newsmen.

According to the statement, two members of the syndicate: Imran Olalekan and Isiaka Olalekan were arrested on April 3, 2024 following 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 for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun based in India.

“Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed who works directly with the baron was arrested on Tuesday 14th May at 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.

“During a search of Hamed house, NDLEA operatives recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grams.

“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 where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia”.

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