The agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, identified the suspect as Ejiofor Enwereaku.
He noted that Enwereaku, said to be the leader of a syndicate, was arrested on May 14 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The suspect, according to Babafemi, was arrested for importing 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95 kilogrammes with a street value of over N8 billion, using an organised criminal gang that specialises in tagging/planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage.
He was said to have confessed during preliminary interrogation that he was contracted by his Ethiopian associate, a notorious drug baron, to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos.
Enwereaku told the NDLEA that $10,000 was delivered through his representative in Lagos and another $10,000 via his local bank account, while he paid $4,500 at the point of his arrest to compromise operatives of the agency.
His group was alleged to be responsible for recruiting traffickers to move illicit drugs to various destinations using Nigeria as their transit location and also planting drugs in the luggage of innocent travellers.
The arrest of the suspected drug kingpin, based in Brazil, followed the seizure of a bag that arrived at the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight on May 8.
According to the NDLEA, a man came to the airport the next day to make an inquiry on how to get the disclaimed bag released but he was promptly arrested for investigation.
When the disclaimed bag was opened in the presence of the arriving passenger and the man who came for it, it contained 36 blocks of cocaine.
A follow-up sting operation was carried out, which led to the arrest of Enwereaku upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian airline.