Potent 'Canadian Loud' Cannabis hidden in cars shipped from Canada is flooding Nigeria
Every month, police in Lagos find used cars, usually shipped from Toronto via Montreal, stuffed with popular high-THC Canadian cannabis.
When police at a port in Lagos, Nigeria, opened a shipping container arriving Friday from Canada, they saw five used cars crammed inside and knew exactly what else to look for. They found it: 63 kilograms of cannabis hidden in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla, one in a wave of illegal importations of a popular marijuana strain known as Canadian Loud.
Several times a month, police in Lagos find used cars arriving from Canada, usually shipped from Toronto via Montreal, secretly stuffed with popular high-potency Canadian cannabis flooding Africa’s most populous city.
The latest seizure by Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, like most of them, was discovered at Tin Can Island Port, the second largest port in Lagos.
The drugs filled the trunk of a Toyoto Corolla, in brightly coloured blue and yellow bags each printed with the words “The Best is Yet to Come.”
A freight agent was arrested the next day while trying to board an airplane to Kenya, with nearly a kilogram of Canadian Loud hidden in the walls of his suitcase, police said.
A similar pattern of used car shipments has been seen at the port for more than a year, police said. Shipping containers arrive from Canada with four or five used cars inside and one or two of them are hiding drugs.
Canadian Loud is described by Nigerian police as an expensive synthetic strain of cannabis from Canada with high THC content. Another strain of cannabis from Canada found in the containers is called Colorado.
The importation and distribution appear to be run by well-resourced and dangerous organized crime groups.
In January, police stopped a truck about a half hour’s drive from the port and found it loaded down with nearly five tonnes of Canadian Loud. It was guarded by 15 or more armed men, who rammed a police vehicle trying to flee, sparking a firefight on the street with officers and soldiers. The men escaped, police said.
On April 5, police said they found 55 kilograms of Canadian Loud in a shipping container of five cars sent from Toronto via Montreal.
On March 26 it was 107 kilograms in a container of four used cars from Toronto. Two Nigerian men were arrested for that load.
On March 3, 79 kilograms of Canadian Loud was found — appropriate for its nickname — inside several large stereo speakers which were stored in a 2009 Jeep Wrangler and a 2009 Honda Ridgeline pickup, two of four vehicles in a container from Toronto via Montreal.
In February, 75.5 kilograms of cannabis in vehicles shipped from Montreal was found. Police arrested a local man linked to that shipment and named another as a fugitive.
The two men were linked to another shipment weeks earlier, when 24.5 kilograms were found in a used Toyota Sienna; the importers tried to bribe a police officer with nearly $24,000 to look the other way, police said.
In January there were more, including 110.75 kilos in a 2011 Toyota Sienna and a 2011 Honda Pilot, two of four vehicles in a container from Montreal.
The list goes on.
In July, national police in Lagos said they arrested two local men, named as “kingpins” behind previous shipments from Canada.
One, Gboyega Ayoola Elegbeji, was arrested at his house and accused of arranging the importation of a 40-foot container from Canada that included 16.5 kilograms of cannabis along with four vehicles.
The other man, Sunday Joe Oyebola, was accused of arranging a different container of the same size, with four vehicles inside hiding 145 kilograms of cannabis, from Montreal. Police said he had been on the run since March 2022 and allege he tried to bribe an officer with almost $30,000 to intervene in his case.
National police said that a 52-year-old Nigerian man who is a Canadian resident was also arrested at an airport a year ago, after arriving on a flight from São Paulo, Brazil, with two kilograms of cocaine in his luggage.
The packages were wrapped like Christmas presents in shiny wrapping paper.
Designated as one of the world’s megacities, Lagos is huge in size and population. Nearly as many people live in and around Lagos as live in Canada.
Police say the city is being flooded by Canadian cannabis not only through the port, but by land from neighbouring countries where it is also being exported to.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency did not respond to questions about the suspected source of the cannabis, or whether it is suspected of being grown and diverted from licensed facilities in Canada or grown in black market operations.
The RCMP did not provide comment or information on the Canadian connection to Nigeria’s drug trade prior to deadline.