New Telegraph

I didn’t know my friend’s suitcase contained cocaine

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a 38-year-old man, Okorie Cyprian Raymond, for attempting to smuggle 12.05 kilograms of cocaine into Nigeria. The suspect, however, denied knowing that the suitcase his friend allegedly gave him contained parcels of cocaine.

The drug, which weighed 12.05 kilograms, was carefully packed in drink sachets of pineapple and lemon flavour and concealed in a suitcase. Raymond had already claimed his luggage upon arrival and proceeded to the NDLEA screening point where it was detected that one of his bags was stuffed with prohibited drugs suspected to be cocaine. The suspect, a school certificate holder, has been a resident of Sao Paulo since 2015 where he worked as a technician at a brass installation centre.

He said: “I didn’t have knowledge of what was in the bag. Oga Uche brought the suitcase to me at the airport just an hour before the flight take-off. This short interval did not give me the opportunity to scrutinise the bag.

I had to leave my bicycle spare-parts business in Nigeria for greener pastures in the USA, but opted to travel through Brazil, Mexico to America. My journey was aborted in Mexico from where I was returned to Brazil where I was granted asylum.”

The suspect was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The NDLEA national spokesman, Jonah Achema, said Raymond was arrested during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline flight 911 from Sao Paulo, Brazil en-route Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “He claimed that the drug consignment was given to him to deliver in Nigeria by one Uche whom he met in a church in Brazil about three months ago through a friend. Okorie said Uche overheard him talking to his friend about his impending trip to Nigeria and urged him to assist him take the suitcase to Nigeria,” Achema said.

The NDLEA Commander, Abuja Airport, Kabir Sani Tsakuwa, said the 12.05 kilograms of cocaine was one of the highest quantities seized by the command in recent times. He said: “We promised all travellers involved in drug trafficking that they will not escape our dragnet. We will continue to sustain our vigilance.”

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