Four members of a drug trafficking ring operating between East and West Africa have been arrested at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.
The suspects were arrested in two separate operations, leading to the seizure of 13 kilogrammes of heroin with a street value of over $1 million.
Ten parcels of the drug were discovered in an enamel bowl, while seven were found under the cushion of a baby pram.
The suspects are Friday Ogbonna Icheogu, 43; his brother, Christian Chukwudi Icheogu, 36, both Nigerians; Mabada Zanaka Zamzam, alias Zam Nabadda, 36, and Charles Ejiku Gasper, 41, both Ugandans.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Nii Lantey Blankson, said on March 8, 2015 officials from NACOB, acting on intelligence, arrested the Ugandan woman, Mabada Zanaka Zamzam, at the KIA.
He indicated that Zamzam arrived at the KIA around 11 a.m. on that day onboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Uganda.
He said unknown to Zamzam, the officials had mounted surveillance on her. After she had picked her two luggages and headed outside, she was met by the two Nigerians at the entrance of the Arrival Hall.
Nii Blankson said the three persons exchanged pleasantries and thereafter Ogbonna introduced himself as the contact person she was supposed to meet.
Thereafter, one of the Nigerians stopped a taxi and put the luggage in it, but before they could enter the taxi, NACOB officials arrested them and took them to the head office of the board.
Nii Blankson said a thorough search conducted on the luggage being carried by the woman revealed 10 parcels of a substance suspected to be heroin which had been concealed beneath 10 enamel bowls.
He said the 10 parcels had a gross weight of three kilogrammes and upon interrogation Zamzam informed the officials that she had been sent by someone whose name she gave only as Joel, a Nigerian living in Uganda, to bring the travelling bag containing the bowls to a friend in Accra who would meet her at the airport.
He said on March 16, 2015, Gasper was also picked up on arrival at the KIA on board an Ethiopian Airline flight from Entebbe through Addis Ababa to Accra.
He said while profiling Gasper, it was realised that he had two baggage tags with the numbers ET438241 and ET438242 stuck at the back of his passport.
He said Gasper had earlier told NACOB officials who arrested him that he had only a hand luggage and when questioned he denied any knowledge of the bag tags.
Not convinced, the officials escorted him to the luggage department where a black bag and a box containing a baby’s pram had been left on the carousel and when it was checked, it bore the name of the suspect and matched the tags behind his passport.
A thorough search in the bag and the baby’s pram revealed seven large parcels of heroin, with an approximate weight of 10 kilogrammes, concealed beneath the bag and the baby’s pram.
Upon interrogation, Gasper claimed the two items had been given to him in Uganda by a Nigerian whose name he gave only as Obi to be delivered to an unknown person in Accra.