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South Africa-Based Nigerian Pastor Nabbed With N1.4bn Drugs Concealed In Assorted Foodstuff

BEVERLY HILLS, July 01, (THEWILL) – A Nigerian evangelist living in Durban, South Africa, has been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over 165kgs of narcotics drugs detected inside two containers of foodstuff meant for export to South Africa.

The drugs, 92kgs of methamphetamine and 73kgs of ephedrine were seized at the Apapa Seaport, Lagos, with a street value of N1.4 billion, was traced 52-year-old John Vincent Arinze who was arrested in his hotel room in Lagos.

The drugs were hidden inside packs of melon concealed in foodstuff and cosmetics such as gari (cassava flakes), noodles, Knorr and Maggi food seasoning, yam powder, malt drinks, pepper, milk, herbal hair cream and Golden Morn cereals.

Other items in the container are Damatol hair cream, bags of melon, kegs of palm oil, beans, biscuits, sardine and cartons of Orijin Bitters.

Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd), said that the arrest and seizure are a product of an intense undercover operation by the NDLEA with significant influence on the campaign against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

“This is a product of careful planning and meticulous tracking of narcotic drugs movement,” he said.

“The consignments were closely monitored by our undercover agents and intercepted at the Apapa Seaport, Lagos, following the detection of narcotics by NDLEA sniffer dogs during screening operation.

“This will definitely have a positive influence on Nigeria’s drug control efforts.

“I am very happy with the success recorded in this operation. The agency will remain painstaking and professional in the fight against illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse. We hope to unmask the drug syndicate behind this shipment and make more arrests soon.”

The suspect had lived in South Africa for over a decade and accepted ownership of the illicit shipment saying he made a big mistake by taking over the business of his late wife.

“I am an evangelist living in Durban, South Africa. My late wife was into drug trafficking before she died few years ago. I made a mistake venturing into her business. It is all my fault,” he stated.

Story by David Oputah