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NDLEA destroys 10 hectares cannabis farm in Ogbese, arrests suspects

By Ayodele Popoola

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, said its operatives have arrested a 50-year-old man, Linus Odogwu, during a raid at the Oloro camp, Ogbese, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, where they destroyed a total of 25,000 kilograms of cannabis on 10 hectares of farmland, while recovering 89.5kg of same substance.

Three other suspects: David Obungete Ekepenyoung, 22; Oluwaseun Folorunso, 23; and Rabiu Musa, 32, were nabbed in other parts of the state in connection with different seizures totaling 77kg.

The NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday,

Babafemi who announced other interceptions, said that the attempt by a suspect, Iheakara Ifeanyichukwu Festus, to export a drug consignment through the terminal 2 of the Lagos airport to Muscat, Oman via Ethiopian airline flight on Thursday, April 18, was thwarted by NDLEA officers.

According to the statement, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80kg were discovered concealed in the suspect’s bag when his luggage was searched.

The spokesperson said the suspect who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria on April 1, confessed he was hired to courier the drug with an agreement to get paid N1,200,000 upon successful delivery in Oman.

He also said that the operatives of the agency have arrested three members of an organized criminal organization that specializes in illicit drug trafficking across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America

NDLEA said the development followed the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos, coming two months after they were declared wanted.

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 It said a total of 51.90 kilograms of heroin had been recovered from members of the drug cartel in an operation that began on February 10, 2024 at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s cargo terminal.

Babafemi said the consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70kg recovered from the equipment, while an additional 2.2kg was seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in the Ayobo area of Lagos.

He said while the agency has secured interim forfeiture court order on hotel, mansions, vehicles and funds traced to members of the syndicate after arresting four of them, a manhunt was also launched for others who went underground.

“The effort, however, paid off on Friday, April 19, when two of the wanted kingpins: Onyinyechi Irene Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu, were arrested in Lagos and Awka, Anambra State respectively. Another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Emmanuel Obinna was equally nabbed in Lagos,” Babafemi said.

“In Adamawa State, NDLEA operatives on Saturday, April 20, intercepted a Peugeot car driven by Dahiru Mohammed at Girei on his way to Mubi with 1,250,000 pills of opioids weighing 450kg. The operatives had earlier intercepted along Ngurore -Yola road a J5 bus marked AAA790XV loaded with motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State, with consignments of Codeine Syrup and Tramadol concealed in-between the motor parts. A follow up operation led to the arrest of the recipient, Jairus Nwanchor at Jambutu motor park.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo and Imo Commands of the Agency for their balanced efforts in the past week.

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Marwa equally applauded their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures thus creating parity between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities.

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