The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Wednesday announced the seizure of large quantity of Captagon, a brand of Amphetamine drug, valued at N5.8 billion at Apapa Port, Lagos.
Chairman of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos, said that the seizure of Captagon, with one suspect in the net, was the first in Sub-Sahara Africa.
He said the agency in March 2021, had intel from its international partners, on the shipment of the illicit narcotic to Nigeria from the Middle East, through the Apapa Port.
Marwa noted that the container passed through three countries, and was transloaded in a North African country, while the agency kept tracking it, in collaboration with its partners.
He explained that, the agency attempted to examine the container on Aug. 26, but found three pieces of marble polishing machines, also called Sanders.
The Chairman further said, on Aug. 31, the Agency’s sniffer dogs turned up a positive indication on the rotor coil of one of the three machines.
“On Sept. 1, 2021, 18,560 tablets of a drug, suspected to be Amphetamine (Captagon), weighing 3.2kg, was found deeply concealed in one of the coils.
“On Sept. 2, the other two machines were dismantled, and in all, a total of 451,807 tablets, weighing 74.119 kilogrammes, were discovered hidden inside the rotor coils.
“Going by the street value of about 25 dollars per tablet, the importer would have raised 11.3 million dollars, about N5.8 billion,” he said.
Marwa pointed out that if not for the intelligence of his men and the support from their international partners, the drug would have caused serious havoc in Nigeria, as such highly addictive pills were mainly available in the Middle East.
“The pill produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing them to stay awake for days, making them fearless, and pre-disposes them to danger.
“The production and sale of this pill is controlled by militias and large criminal groups in the Middle East and beyond any doubt, Captagon has been linked to the escalation of the Syrian Civil War.
“A lot of the seizures have been made since 2017, mostly in Arabian Peninsula, Italy and Turkey, and its origin is traced to Syria and Lebanon.
“This gave rise to the theory that ISIS is behind the production and sales, to generate funds for weapons,” he noted.
Marwa said given the dangerous background of Captagon, it was obvious that the destination for the drugs was the camp of insurgents and bandits all over Nigeria.
He commended his men and other sister security agencies at the port that assisted in intercepting the drug, stressing that the agency was on the trail of suspects involved in the importation of the illicit drug.