By Ayodele Popoola
Operatives of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ondo State Command, have arrested a 51-year-old farmer, Osamezu George Chukwuemeka and his wife, Kate Osamezu, 43, for being in possession of 118.5kg processed cannabis in a farm at Ofosu, Ondo State.
The couple alongside the duo of Wasiu Agboola, 37 and Mustapha Sanni , were arrested when the operatives stormed the forest.
Director, Media & Advocacy of the agency, Femi Babafemi, made this known in a statement issued to newsmen on Sunday.
The statement stated that the anti-narcotic officers destroyed 29 hectares of cannabis in different farms in the forest.
In the same vein, the operatives also raided a warehouse belonging to an unidentified suspect at Elegbeka, Ose Local Government Area of the state, where not less than 107 jumbo bags of the same illicit substance weighing 1,132.5kg, were recovered same week.
Also in Lagos, the agency arrested a 48-year-old drug kingpin, Charles Uwagbale, while giving a suspected recruited courier 93 cocaine wraps to swallow at a Lagos hotel.
The agency also disclosed that it recovered 12.4 million pills of opioids, 6,921.5 kg.
The statement in part said, “It was a rude shock to find a notorious drug kingpin who specialises in sponsoring young Nigerians to traffick Class A drugs to Europe, especially Italy, when operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, stormed his hotel room in Okota area of Lagos late on Friday July 21, when he was preparing a recruited courier to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine meant for distribution in Italy.
“The drug lord had recruited Uju Dominic, 35, from his base in Italy with a deal to come to Nigeria, ingest 100 pellets of cocaine on Friday July 21 and return to Italy on Saturday July 22. True to plan, upon the arrival in Nigeria, the mule was lodged in Golden Heaven Hotel located at Enoma Street off Ago-Palace Way, Okota, Isolo, Lagos where Uwagbale brought 93 wraps of the Class A drug for him to swallow at about 11:45 pm Friday night.
“They were in the process when NDLEA operatives who have been on their trail following credible intelligence stormed their hotel room, arrested both and recovered the drug exhibits with a total weight of 1.427 kilograms.
“Operatives of the Lagos State Command of the Agency who made the arrest and seizure had on Thursday July 20 raided Akala in Mushin area of the state where they recovered 37.5kg cannabis from the home of a fleeing suspect.
“Meanwhile, attempts to smuggle 98 cartons containing Five Million One Hundred and Twenty-Two Thousand Nine Hundred (5, 122, 900) pills of Tramadol 225mg with an estimated street value of about Three Billion Seven Hundred Million Naira (N3.7billion) only into Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, have been thwarted through the robust synergy between men of the Nigeria Customs Service and NDLEA officers at the airport as well as those at the DHL cargo warehouse. Preliminary findings revealed that the consignments were imported from India and Pakistan, while some of the seized consignments had Freetown, Sierra Leone as the final destination.
NDLEA operatives in Ogun State on Wednesday July 19, recovered 810 parcels of cannabis weighing 604kg from the house of one Adetunji Abiodun.
“Fresh bid to smuggle into Nigeria, another consignment of Colorado, a synthetic variant of cannabis, through the Tincan port in Apapa Lagos again on Friday July 21, frustrated by NDLEA officers who discovered a total of 323 parcels of the illicit substance weighing 161.5kg concealed in one of the four used vehicles in a container marked MEDU 7519460 coming from Montreal, Canada, during a joint examination of the shipment.
“At least, three suspects are currently in NDLEA custody over the shipment while a bribe of N20 million converted to $22,900 offered operatives by the importers agents has also been recovered and documented as evidence.”
“In Edo State, operatives on Monday July 17, raided the Utese forest, Ovia North East LGA, where they arrested one Victor Asukwo Jack, with 59 bags of processed cannabis sativa weighing 640kg. His two cannabis farms measuring 1.489895 hectares and 2.445295 hectares were destroyed. Also, Endurance Chukwuma, 50, was arrested with seven bags of processed cannabis sativa weighing 68kg, while his cannabis farm measuring 0.254324 hectares was destroyed.
“A total of 273kg cannabis was earlier intercepted in a Toyota Sienna Vehicle marked RBC 451 CM on Wednesday July 19 at Ogida, Benin City, and a suspect, Lucky Oriakhi, 41, was arrested while operatives also seized 48,380 pills of tramadol in a commercial bus marked KAK 66 XA along Ewohimi road, heading to Kabba, Kogi state and arrested the driver, Ibrahim John.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended them for jobs well done while he urged them and their counterparts across the country to continue the synergy with other security agencies and stakeholders in the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking