The two Nigerians arrested for running a narcotics manufacturing unit from a house in Greater Noida had stocked enough food and water to last for months and did not step out as they did not want to be being seen in the neighbourhood.

Officials said they had been smuggling the drugs through courier services and international passengers. Following their interrogation, the Narcotics Control Bureau(NCB) conducted raids in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai on Sunday.

On Saturday, the NCB arrested the two Nigerians and recovered 18 kg pseudoephedrine worth an estimated Rs 1,000 crore and 1.9kg cocaine from them.

The NCB got wind of the unit after they arrested a South African woman from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport on Thursday morning with 24.7 kgs of pseudoephedrine.

A senior NCB officer probing the seizure said a detailed search of the house that belongs to an IPS officer, now posted with the UP police’s economic offences wing in Lucknow, led to the recovery of packaged food and water.

“There was a lot of food. Canisters of potable water were found. The two Nigerians, Henry Ideofor (35) and the woman, Chimando Okora (30), barely stepped out of the house to avoid being spotted. Sometimes they did not step out for months,” said an officer who did not wish to be named.

The officer said most locals said they had never interacted with the duo. “A maid who used to visit their house was called once in 2-3 weeks,” the officer said, adding the duo admitted to have smuggled out the drugs through passengers by paying them good money.

“We suspect they used courier services to send parcels of drugs within the country. But we are yet to get any evidence,” he said.

Another officer said the recovered pseudoephedrine had been stored over months. “We are conducting searches across many cities. We are probing if the pseudoephedrine was shipped to India from some other country. We are yet to identify the source,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

The pseudoephedrine is a precursor used in manufacturing narcotic substances. The export of pseudoephedrine requires a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the narcotics commissioner.

The UN Convention Against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, identifies 23 precursors that need to be controlled and pseudoephedrine is one of them.

The house where the drug syndicate was running was given on rent three years ago to the Nigerian nationals through a property dealer. The two had informed the house owner that they had come to India on a business visa. The local police or the house owner remained clueless of their alleged activities all these years.

Vineet Jaiswal, SP (rural) said the two had not submitted documents at the Local Intelligence Unit office. “The LIU had no idea about their stay,” he said. The NCB is probing their visa and other details, Jaiswal said.

The Uttar Pradesh police said the property dealer who helped the two find the house is under scanner.

First Published:
May 13, 2019 06:50 IST

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