members of a suspected money laundering syndicate that specializes in
swallowing dollars were today arrested at the Excel Oriental Hotel,
along Airport Road in Lagos by officials of the National Drug Law
Enforcement Agency for allegedly swallowing US$156,000 (about N32
million) meant for export to Brazil.
In a statement released
today, NDLEA said illicit exportation of currency by ingestion is a new
trend in by-passing anti-money laundering operatives.
anti-narcotic agency in its statement identified those arrested as
Kingsley Nwokenta, a bureau de change operator also known as Buchito;
Augustine Onwuasoanya, 54, and Christian Okoli, 35, both based in
Brazil; Uzoma Ezenwa, 33, a hotel manager; Ikenna Ezenwa; and Emmanuel
Investigations by NDLEA showed that Kingsley Nwokenta the owner of Amazon Bureau de Change, is the brain behind the syndicate.
allegedly supplied US$120,000 to be swallowed and illicitly exported to
Brazil. Onwuasoanya Augustine swallowed 74 wraps of dollars amounting
to US$111,000. Christian Okoli who resides in Brazil had US$45,000 which
he wanted to swallow.”
The statement by the
anti-narcotic agency says one of the suspects arrested, Emmanuel
Nwokenta, the manager of the bureau de change, played a “supportive
role” in the alleged act while Ikenna Ezenwa, 28, was hired to wrap the
“He is believed to have acquired
his skill from illicit drug wrapping. Ezenwa Uzoma, the hotel manager
who has a strong link with members of the syndicate, wilfully obstructed
the officers from discharging their duty. The agency will continue to
rely on manpower training and intelligence-led drug control strategies
to outwit criminal syndicates. We shall take reasonable measures to
dislodge drug cartels and eradicate narcotics from our society. Any
bureau de change operator that violates the law shall be punished
accordingly.”the statement said
All the arrested members of the syndicate will be handed over to EFCC soon for further investigation.