By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
For more than a year, 20-year-old Miss Bee Okoro successfully baked and sold packets of cookies and cakes alleged to be laced with hard drugs from the comfort of her home at Garki, Abuja. Dispatch riders were regularly stopping by to pick up packages for onward delivery to her numerous buyers at the amazement of neighbours who hailed her as a successful online marketer.
But there is some bad news! Her baking factory was busted by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA after placing her on surveillance for weeks.
NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, Miss Bee was arrested in Abuja for producing and selling drugged candies and cookies.
During the raid, a 27-year-old dispatch rider who handles door-to-door delivery for her was also arrested. They were nabbed at Miss Bee residence in Garki Area 11 on September 10, 2021 with a number of their drugged products. Also found with her was 400grams of Loud and Arizona. She confessed to the operatives that she started the business about a year ago.
Cannabis was the main ingredient
On how she ended up as drug peddler, Miss Bee alleged that she got the idea from a friend during the COVID-19 shutdown era when she was out of job. “I am a graduate of French and Mass Communication from a University in Benin Republic. I am based in Abuja and my parents are in Delta State. After graduation, I relocated to Abuja where I secured as job at a Mortgage bank. The bank was having issues, so I had to leave. I immediately got another job as a sales representative with a real estate company in Abuja. Unfortunately, the after-effects of COVID-19 pandemic affected their business and the business collapsed.
It was while I was idle that a friend taught me how to make quick money selling drugs. I learnt how to bake cookies and brownies with cannabis. I have an oven in the house and its easy to bake cakes and cookies at home.
“I used the regular ingredient that is used for baking but add a large quantity of cannabis into it. I will package it and sell it.”
She claimed that her customers were friends and those who already knew the content. “I sell a pack for N1000 and some of my friends who take such drugs are aware that I am baking it. Some of my customers share the cookies to their guest at parties. They order for it and I send it to them through dispatch riders. I have done this business for one year. The man that was arrested came to carry some of the products to send to the owners. I was in my house packaging my products for delivery when NDLEA operatives came and arrested me.”
When asked if she has an employer, Miss Bee said she was working for herself. “It’s my personal business, I only buy the drugs that I use to bake the cookies from suppliers. I have given them the names of the people who supply these drugs to me. I think I need to call my sister who is a lawyer to direct me on what to say. I was told that talking will put me into more trouble.”
Miss Bee, who could not curtail her tears, told Saturday Sun that she was warned to stop exposing what she knows as it might lead to her death. “I am afraid for my life, I was told that the more I talk, the deeper I enter into this problem. I don’t want to die,” she said in tears.
Sale of cookies laced with drugs on the increase in Abuja
According to sources at NDLEA, there is an alarming increase in the sale of drugs through the use of edibles. In a bid to conceal the product from law enforcers, they recruited young men and women and teach them how to make quick money by producing these edibles. “You get to their houses and you see so many motorbikes used by their dispatch riders. Naturally, you cannot tell the content of the product until they are arrested.
“They have social media accounts and websites where these products are displayed as simple cookies or cake. To avoid stop and search or drawing undue attention to themselves, majority of the buyers will order for the products online. The drug peddlers will package the product and contact a courier company to send to the owners. Most especially, they make use of dispatch riders on motorbikes which are easily accessible in Nigeria today.
“Their agents concentrate on sharing these products at parties, especially those organised for teenagers in high brow areas of Abuja. Packaged as simple cookies, the teenagers are shown links on WhatsApp and private Instagram pages where such can be ordered online.
Operatives have intensified efforts in tracing such social media accounts and the recovery has been massive,” NDLEA sources stated.
Meanwhile about 15 suspects who produce cookies laced with hard drugs were arrested in the past six months. Also recovered were about 21 motorcycles used by their dispatch riders. Some of the drugs include Arizona, Loud, Cannabis and SK.
Amongst those arrested are producers of the drug and suppliers. All of them are currently facing trial at the Federal High Court in FCT.
Saturday Sun also learnt that two weeks before Miss Bee’s arrest, one Arnold Maniru was also arrested by the FCT command. During the raid by the operatives, a parcel containing drugged candies and liquid was intercepted. The parcel tested positive to Arizona weed that was imported from the UK.