On May 9, when the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) caught a 31-year-old Nigerian woman smuggling 24.7 kg of pseudoephedrine at the Delhi airport, none of them would have imagined that they would end up busting one of India's biggest drug rackets.
When the woman, identified as Nomsa Lutalo, was later interrogated by Narcotics Control Bureau officials, she revealed the shocking details of the racket running from an IPS officer's home in Greater Noida for the past four years. Henry Ideofor, also a Nigerian, and a woman he claimed was his wife were nabbed by NCB officials the very next day.
After combing the house on May 10, NCB officials recovered 1,818 kg of pseudoephedrine and 1.9 kg of cocaine worth Rs 26 crore. This was one of the largest busts outside industrial premises of the chemical used for manufacturing narcotics, said NCB officials. Ideofor had procured the drug from places where it is sold legally for medicinal purposes.
As per a Hindustan Times report, the location of the house served as the perfect disguise for the drug racket to run undetected for such a long time. IPS officer Devendra PN Pandey, the owner of the house, did not bother to verify the details as he had met the duo through a broker. He also said that their behaviour was normal when they hosted him in the front room. Pandey added that he did not venture into the rear rooms where the drugs were stored as it would be invading their privacy.
The 3000 square feet single story house is located near the Pari Chowk Metro station area where most of the houses are uninhabited. The owners stay elsewhere and have caretakers for their maintenance.
The house always had a lock hanging on its gate to misguide onlookers. The African couple moved mostly in cabs and always asked the driver to stop far away from the house. They would then tell him to accompany them on foot, lock the gate from outside and throw the key in.
Ideofor had also perfected a modus operandi to move the drugs in and out of India. He would sponsor tickets of Africans willing to visit India and stuff the drugs in cavities of specially designed suitcases which were sent back with them.