The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has successfully dismantled a major trans-border drug cartel, arresting five of its leaders in a special operation that spanned several weeks.
This was disclosed by the Director of Media and Advocacy at the NDLEA headquarters in Abuja, Femi Babafemi in a statement on Sunday.
According to him, the operation resulted in the seizure of different quantities of skunk, methamphetamine, ephedrine, and air compressors used to conceal and distribute the drugs globally.
He said that the operation followed a warning from the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), that drug barons and cartels would face tough times in 2023 if they failed to leave their criminal activities.
- Advertisement -
The cartel, operating in Dubai, UAE; Cotonou, Benin Republic; Togo; Oman, Thailand, and Europe, as well as Lagos, Imo, and Onitsha in Anambra state, was uncovered when its freight agent, Onyeisue Collins Chukwudi, was arrested by NDLEA officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos for attempting to export three big air compressors to Dubai. The arrest led to the discovery of 27.50kgs of skunk hidden inside the compressors.
Further investigations revealed the presence of a bigger organized criminal group, leading to the arrest of its kingpin, Onuoha Peter Obioma, in Benin Republic and Togo. Obioma’s arrest led to the capture of two other leaders of the cartel: Ugo Kelechi Alex (aka KC) in Dubai and Iwueke Ugochukwu (aka Odugwu) in Onitsha, Anambra. The head of the cartel, Ezenwekwe Obinna Nicodemus, an automobile parts dealer in Alaba International market, Lagos, was eventually arrested in a bar in Mazamaza, Mile 2 area of Lagos.
In addition to the arrests, NDLEA also seized 2,601.5 kilograms of cannabis and 102,500 pills of pharmaceutical opioids in interdiction operations across different states in Nigeria. A total of 718kgs of cannabis were seized in Sabongida-Ora, Owan West LGA, Edo state, and 532kgs were recovered from a truck in Kogi state. A total of 131kgs of the psychoactive substance were seized in Mariri area of Kano and 119.4kgs of methamphetamine were discovered in a hotel room in Delta state.
The NDLEA continues to work tirelessly to curb the menace of drug trafficking in Nigeria and bring those involved in the illegal trade to justice.