18 Feb 2015

NDLEA arrests Pastor for drug trafficking; ...recovers N609million drugs

The Murtala Muhammed International Airport command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, has apprehended a pastor, Prophet Michael Raji, for drug trafficking.

It was learnt that Raji, a pastor of a white garment church at the Ikotun area of Lagos, was arrested at about 12pm on Monday while he was trying to smuggle 174 kilogrammes of narcotic drugs to South Africa.

The agency said three passports bearing different names were also recovered from the pastor.

It was gathered that an NDLEA team led Raji to the church, where bags containing 91kg of Methamphetamine and 83kg of Ephedrine with an estimated street value of N609m were recovered.

It was also learnt that a jeep was impounded during the operation.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the suspect was a member of a wanted drug syndicate operating in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

The 60-year-old pastor told investigators that he was tempted to the act by the devil.
He said, “I received the drugs from my friend and I kept them in the church since October 2014. This is a great temptation for me and I pray to God to overcome it.”
The NDLEA Commander at the airport, Mr. Hamza Umar, described the suspect as a “smooth operator.”
Umar said, “The drugs were brought to the airport for export to South Africa. Investigation eventually traced the movement of the drugs to his church premises where he was arrested.

“He had three international passports bearing his photographs with the names Michael Raji and Kadigun Ola.

“It was equally discovered that the church premises, where he ministers, also serves as a warehouse for narcotics.

“The seized drugs, concealed inside large bags of foodstuffs, were found to contain 91kg of Methamphetamine and 83kg of Ephedrine with an estimated street value of N609m.

“We also recovered a Mercedes Benz jeep during the operation.”
The Chairman of the agency, Ahmadu Giade, said the seizure was phenomenal and promised that the suspect and his fleeing accomplices would be brought to book.

The NDLEA boss further called on members of the public to continue to support the agency by providing useful information on drug trafficking syndicates.

Credit: Afeez Hanafi/PunchMetro

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