In a significant drug enforcement operation, operatives from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have successfully apprehended a pair of impostors posing as a married couple. The suspects, identified as Mr. Ilonzeh Onyebuchi and Ms. Ngogbike Nkechi (formerly known as Ilonzeh Nonyelum), were arrested for attempting to transport a substantial quantity of narcotics to India.
The arrest took place on August 1, 2023, at Screening Point 1, Terminal 1 of the international wing at Lagos Airport. The suspects were intercepted while attempting to board an Ethiopian Airline flight destined for India. What initially appeared to be a couple embarking on a medical trip soon unveiled a sinister plot involving the smuggling of illicit drugs.
Femi Babafemi, the spokesperson for NDLEA, revealed that although the suspects’ travel documents displayed consistent information, an alert NDLEA officer subjected them to a thorough body scan. The scan confirmed their involvement in drug trafficking, prompting the agency to initiate further investigative measures.
Upon closer examination, it was discovered that the duo had ingested a total of 184 wraps of cocaine, collectively weighing 3.322 kilograms. Astonishingly, an additional 100 grams of the drug were concealed in the woman’s private area. Both suspects were subsequently placed under observation for excretion at the agency’s facility.
The investigation revealed that the suspects had obtained travel documents under the same surname, masquerading as a couple to evade security checks at the airport. However, it was uncovered that Ngogbike Nkechi (formerly Ilonzeh Nonyelum) had been recruited for the illegal operation in Aba, Abia State.
During questioning, Ngogbike Nkechi confessed that her alleged husband, Kingsley, had delivered the cocaine pellets to her in a hotel room in which they were both separately lodged on July 31. She further divulged that she was promised a payment of $5,000 upon successful delivery of the narcotics in India.
Kingsley, who had purportedly been involved in the clothing business in Onitsha, Anambra State, admitted to being promised $2,000 for his role in transporting the drugs. A more extensive search into the agency’s crime database revealed that Kingsley had previously been arrested at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on March 19, 2022. At that time, he had ingested 100 wraps of cocaine weighing 2.243 kilograms.
It was uncovered that Kingsley had been using a false identity, Uwaezuoke Christian, to obtain travel documents for his illicit activities. He had previously been arraigned before Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court Abuja, charged with drug-related offenses. Despite being granted bail, he was arrested again at Lagos Airport on August 1, 2023, for engaging in similar criminal activities.
This operation serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts of NDLEA to combat drug trafficking and apprehend those involved in such illegal activities. The agency’s commitment to upholding the law and ensuring the safety of air travel remains unwavering.