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Tin-Can Customs Intercepts Illicit, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals Concealed In 2x40ft Containers

ByHybrid News

Aug 28, 2023

In a remarkable display of vigilance and efficiency, Tin-Can Island Customs Command intercepted a large-scale drug smuggling attempt, unearthing dangerous pharmaceuticals cleverly concealed within two 40-foot containers.

This was disclosed in a press briefing by the Command’s Area Controller, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede.

Oloyede noted that the operation was the result of timely intelligence received by the Command Customs Intelligence Unit, revealing the suspected importation of illicit and unregistered regulated pharmaceutical products.

He added that upon the vessel’s arrival at the Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), the two containers bearing Bill of Lading Nos 227578945 and 227898171, marked as MRSU 592397/0 and MRKU 553432/1 respectively, were swiftly transferred to the Enforcement Station for thorough examination and investigation.

Under the supervision of Enforcement Officers, Customs Intelligence Operatives, Customs Police, and Terminal Examination officers, comprehensive physical examinations were carried out on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at approximately 14:00 hours, and on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at about 13:00 hours. The inspection yielded shocking results:
Container No MRSU 592397/0:
Contrary to the declaration of “Electrical Goods Ceiling Fan 36 Jewel (Cooper) and Chilly Cutters (Stainless Steel Plastic),” the container was found to contain:
Five (5) cartons of Timaking 120 Tapentadol (Tramadol) Hydrochloride Carisoprodol capsules. Eighty-Four (84) cartons of Gastro Resistant Omeprazole capsule BP 200mg.

Eight Hundred and Seventy-Six (876) cartons of CSMIX cough syrup containing Codeine.
Fifty (50) cartons of Manual Grater Machine used for concealment.
One (1) carton of Ceiling Fan used as a means of concealment.
Container No MRKU 553432/1:
Disguised as “Electrical Goods Ceiling Fan 36 Jewel (Cooper) and Chilly Cutter (Stainless Steel Plastic),” the container concealed:
Ten (10) cartons of Super Royal 225 (Tramadol).
One Hundred and Five (105) cartons of Omeprazole Capsule BP 200mg.
Seven Hundred and Fifty-Four (754) cartons of Barcadin with Codeine.
Fifty (50) cartons of Manual Grater Machine used for concealment.
One (1) carton of Compo Ceiling Fan used as a means of concealment.

The intercepted pharmaceutical products lacked the necessary permits and certificates required for importation by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). These illicit drugs posed a severe risk to the safety of the Nigerian public.

In a significant development, two suspects have been apprehended and are currently under the custody of the Enforcement Unit, in line with the Service’s investigation procedures. One of the detained suspects, Mr. Boniface Ike, admitted to being the owner (Importer) of both containers. In an unexpected twist, he attempted to negotiate his release and the containers’ release privately, offering a staggering bribe of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira only) or approximately $54,330 USD. This attempt was thwarted, and the offered bribe has been secured as evidence.

“According to him, “The Unregistered’ pharmaceutical products intercepted are regulated products by NAFDAC and didn’t have the required permits and certificates for importation in which the documents are to ascertain the safety of the products to Nigerians, hence these illicit dangerous drugs were concealed.

“Two suspects have been arrested and are presently at the custody of the Enforcement Unit in accordance with the investigation process of the Service. One of suspects in custody, Mr. Boniface Ike accepted that he is the owner (Importer) of the two containers and sought to discuss privately with OC Enforcement DC GI Aliyu and Team Manager CIU AC H Abubakar. I instructed my officers to play along, the request was granted in expectation of receiving vital information from the suspect but to their bewilderment, the suspect pleaded for his freedom from detention and release of the containers while offering gratification to the tune of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira only) (as displayed) equivalent to $54,330 (Fifty-Four Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars only) at the current exchange rate N920. The money was collected and kept in safe custody at the Enforcement Unit to be tendered as exhibit.”

The Nigeria Customs Service will not be a part nefarious acts which will jeopardize the safety and lives of the citizens of our dear country, Nigeria, any fraudulent importer or agent who tries to perpetrate such acts will be prosecuted accordingly.

The Nigeria Customs Service stands resolute against any nefarious activities that jeopardize the safety and lives of Nigerian citizens. Stringent action will be taken against fraudulent importers or agents involved in such criminal actions.

All pertinent information has been relayed to the NCS Headquarters in Abuja, and authorization has been granted for this press conference.

Once directed by the Service, the suspects, containers, and seized items will be handed over to relevant regulatory agencies. Potential prosecution will follow according to the Nigeria Customs Service Act (2023).

Also, the relentless pursuit of smugglers prompted an intensive surveillance operation leading to the discovery of frozen poultry products concealed under the guise of Tangerines in another container (No. TTNU 804678/9). The contraband’s seizure underscores the Service’s commitment to curbing illegal activities and safeguarding revenue and public safety.

In closing, Tin Can Customs, alongside the broader Service, vows to employ every necessary resource and collaboration with security and regulatory agencies to combat the menace of illegal drug importation and unregulated substances, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Nigerians.

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