Money seized from two suspected drug traffickers by the NDLEA is said to be proceeds from a drug trade trade they were trying to launder.
The suspects, according to NDLEA, who were arrested during the screening of passengers on board a Turkish flight, were allegedly laundering the drug money from Greece and Austria.
It was gathered that Nicholas was found in possession of €279,190, while Lovely had on him $30,000 and £46,450, inside envelopes and shoes.
During interrogation, Nicholas who claimed to work in a bakery in Austria said that several people had given him the money for onward delivery to their relatives in Nigeria.
“The money does not belong to me. It was given to me by different people in Europe to give to their relatives. I have been living in Vienna, Austria, for over 15 years.”
On his part, Lovely who lives in Athens, Greece, said the money belonged to his friends.
“I live in Athens and I work in an African shop. I have lived there for 12 years. The money belongs to many people and some of them are my friends.”
However, the NDLEA commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba, insisted the money were proceeds from a drug deal.
“We discovered €325,640 and $30,000 during the inward screening of passengers on a Turkish flight.
Edos Nicholas was found in possession of €279,190 and Hallowell Lovely was found in possession of £46,450 and $30,000 – about N175m (parallel market) in all.
This is a suspected case of money laundering. Criminal groups seek to conceal the origin of illegally obtained money.
It is pertinent therefore for us to trace the origin of the money and prevent the introduction of criminal funds into the economy. Consequently, I have directed that the case be meticulously investigated."
According to the Commander, a preliminary investigation revealed that both suspects are frequent travelers and are working with international drug trafficking organizations.