Inter-Agency Collaboration: Customs,Navy, Others Uncover 32.9kg Cocaine In Vessel

By Maritime Security News

In the spirit of collaboration between sister agencies, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Navy, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and International Police (Interpol) have uncovered thirty parcels weighing 32.9 Kilograms of cocaine in a cargo vessel that came from Brazil into Nigeria in Apapa.

In a press statement signed by the Deputy Superintendent of Customs Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Usman, the joint operation was initiated following intelligence about the ship’s content shared by interpol to the various agencies which necessitated close monitoring of the ship using high maritime domain awareness system. 

Abubakar said that the headquarters of the NCS had directed Apapa Command to follow up on the ship with other government agencies which was jointly done for days. According to him, after meticulously searching the vessel with the aid of sniffer dogs, the suspected substance was discovered and referred to the NDLEA for tests, which confirmed it to be cocaine. 

“The vessel which departed Santos, Brazil on September 19, 2021 and drifted for about a week off the coast of Benin Republic from October I to October 8 2021 when it arrived Nigeria. 

Intelligence report obtained from the ship’s captain confirmed that Brazil Customs had earlier intercepted 150kg of cocaine from one of the ship’s compartments when she berthed at Sopep Locker, Brazil on September 19, 2021. The ship was berthed under arrest at Terminal C in Apapa where the security agencies did a search on her” the statement read. 

Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf said the command relied on provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) sections 49, 50 and 51 to conduct the exercise. He also noted that the discovered drug has been kept in the custody of NDLEA, 

Comptroller Yusuf however commended the synergy amongst the sister agencies and described it as a very productive one. He added that more search is ongoing on the vessel and any additional discovery will be made known to the public.

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