The arrival of Covid-19 in early 2020 disrupted global activities including the nefarious activities of drug trafficking cartels. With the global community in various stages of lockdown, drug trafficking activities suffered a lull. Once borders were closed, airports shut down and port not operating, transporting illicit drugs from the place of manufacturing to transit countries where mules then moved the shipments to user countries ground to a standstill. Hence, cocaine and heroin trafficking through the West Africa pipeline was drastically affected, the situation further worsened by the cancellation of Schengen visas.
Within six months, drug trafficking cartels changed tactics by using a new army of mules, this time, targeting Africans who are either holders of passports or residence permits in European countries and therefore could move across the borders without any problem.
A look at the 100 arrests made by NDLEA at the airport, between January and June 2021, showed that the suspects were, overwhelmingly, of Nigerian or West African descent who were residents in one or the other European pr any overseas country. Examples include Jennifer Onyejegbu Ifesinachi, 33, who worked in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a hairdresser flew into Lagos airport with N21 billion worth of cocaine, and Anita Ugochinyere Ogbonna, a mother of three and a shop owner, also in Sao Paulo, caught at Abuja airport with 100 wraps of cocaine. The list also includes Peter Nkwo, 37, who for 15 years lived and worked in Belgium as a forklift driver, but was caught with 3kg of methamphetamine at the airport.
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