Cablegate: Nigeria's Drug Enforcement Agency Makes First Arrest On
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1814 2751231
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021231Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7140
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 2036
UNCLAS ABUJA 001814
STATE FOR AF/W; INL/AAE; INL/AA
E.O.: 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SNAR KCRM ASEC EAID NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA'S DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY MAKES FIRST ARREST ON
U.S. BOUND FLIGHT OF TRAFFICKER WITH HEROIN
1. (SBU) On September 23, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
(NDLEA) personnel arrested Nigerian National Onugha Benjamin Simon
at Lagos's Murtala Mohamed International Airport while he attempted
to board a U.S. bound Delta Airlines flight with heroin. During the
screening of passengers, NDLEA personnel used INL-donated scanners
to detect heroin wraps secreted in Simon's body. After detecting the
courier, the NDLEA surveillance team informed a Consulate General
Lagos DEA agent, who happened to be on the airport premises at the
time of the incident.
2. (SBU) According to DEA, Simon was cooperative and confessed that
he met an unidentified individual at a travel agency who gave him
the drugs to ingest and promised to purchase his ticket to the U.S.
Simon said this second person took him to a hotel, gave him the
heroin wraps to ingest and warned him not to reveal any information
about him if captured. Based on this agreement, the second person
dropped off Simon at the airport and called back to confirm if he
had boarded his flight. Once arrested, Simon gave the telephone
number of his contact to NDLEA and the DEA agent. NDLEA called the
line to entice the unidentified contact to appear at the airport,
but there was no response, and the individual later switched off the
3. (SBU) NDLEA determined that Simon had ingested 51 wraps and
inserted 19 wraps in his buttocks, totaling 995 grams of heroin.
Simon confessed that he ingested the drugs four days prior to his
4. (SBU) NDLEA and DEA plan to monitor Delta Airlines flights more
closely as this was the first arrest of a drug courier on a direct
flight to the U.S. on the newly established route.
5. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate General Lagos.