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Drug Trafficking: How operatives arrest suspected drug lord at Lagos Hotel, others across states ─NDLEA

A Drug Kingpin Arrested by NDLEA

*Operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency also seize 323 parcels of illicit substance, weighing 161.5kg concealed in a used vehicle imported from Canada, and apprehend three suspects while their N20 million bribe offered the agency’s officials has been recovered and documented as evidence

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have apprehended certain Charles Uwagbale, a 48-year-old notorious drug kingpin, who specialises in sponsoring young Nigerians to traffick Class A drugs to Europe especially Italy.

The anti-narcotics regulatory agency Sunday, July 23, 2023, stated its operatives had stormed the suspect’s hotel room in the Okota area of Lagos State late Friday, July 21 as he was preparing a recruited courier to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine meant for distribution in Italy.

Mr. Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at NDLEA, who disclosed this in the statement said Uwagbale, had recruited Uju Dominic, 35, from his base in Italy with a deal to come to Nigeria, ingest 100 pellets of cocaine last Friday and return to Italy Saturday 22nd July.

The NDLEA stated to true to their plan, upon arrival in Nigeria, the mule was lodged in Golden Heaven Hotel, located on Enoma Street, Off Ago-Palace Way, Okota, in Isolo, Lagos where Uwagbale brought 93 wraps of the Class A drug for him to swallow at about 23:45p.m Friday night.

Babafemi said the drug lord and his mule were in the process when the NDLEA operatives, who had 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, 20th July raided Akala in Mushin area of the state where they recovered 37.5kg cannabis from the home of a fleeing suspect.

However, attempts to smuggle 98 cartons containing 5,122,900 pills of Tramadol 225mg with an estimated street value of about N3.7billion into Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, were frustrated through the robust synergy between men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and NDLEA officers at the airport as well as those at the DHL cargo warehouse.

According to the agency, preliminary findings indicated that the consignments were imported from India and Pakistan, while some of the seized consignments had Freetown, Sierra Leone as final destination.

In the same vein, NDLEA operatives in Bauchi state have recovered a total of 6,265,080 pills of opioids from three suspects.

There are Emmanuel Onyebuchi, 32; Uche Iyida, 33; and Chinedu Ezeanyim, 32 after their arrest alongside a truck driver and his assistant at Shopping Complex, Maiduguri Bye-Pass, Bauchi town on Wednesday, 19th July and the subsequent follow up search of the residence of Iyida Friday, 21st July.

In another development, 999,500 tablets of Exol-5 were also recovered by operatives from a shop close to the market at Hong Road, Gombi, Adamawa State Friday, 21st July, while 46,000 capsules of Tramadol were seized from a suspect, Paul Ajaegbu, 36, along Owerri-Aba Road, Imo State Monday, 17th July.

Same suspect had earlier been arrested, precisely on 9th February 2023, for the same offence, noted the statement.

In Ondo State, NDLEA operatives in their numbers as well stormed the Ofosu Forest, where they destroyed 29 hectares of cannabis farms Thursday, 20th July.

The quartet of Osamezu George Chukwuemeka, 51, who owns the farm; his wife Kate Osamezu, 43; Agboola Wasiu, 37 and Mustapha Sanni, were arrested during the operation, while 118.5kg processed cannabis was recovered from the farm.

In yet another raid of the warehouse of a suspect at Elegbeka, Ose LGA, not less than 107 jumbo bags of the same illicit substance weighing 1,132.5kg were recovered Monday, 17th July.

While operatives in Sokoto state arrested a suspect, Charles Nwankwo, 50, with 610kg of cannabis in Tamaje area of Sokoto on Friday, 21st July, their counterparts in Yobe also same day nabbed a fleeing suspect Shaibu Musa, 29, in Dawasa while he was offering them a bribe of N500,000 following the seizure of 36kg skunk in his house Wednesday, 19th July.

Meanwhile, in Edo State, operatives Monday, 17th July raided the Utese forest Ovia North-East LGA where they arrested 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.

The NDLEA further stated that a total of 273kg cannabis was earlier intercepted in a Toyota Sienna Vehicle marked RBC 451 CM on Wednesday 19th July at Ogida, Benin City, and a suspect, Lucky Oriakhi, 41, 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.

In Nasarawa, two suspects: Abubakar Suleiman, 30 and Shehu Garba (aka Shagari), 29 were arrested along Keffi-Akwanga Road Tuesday, 18th July in a Peugeot J5 vehicle loaded with 1,608.4 kilograms of cannabis sativa.

The consignment was loaded in Edo State and meant for distribution in Bauchi state.

While a total of 1,556.1kg of cannabis was recovered from two suspects: Jonathan Nuhu, 54 and Mohammed Abubakar, 18, following their arrest at Wudil area of Kano State on Thursday 20th July, 76kg of same substance was seized from Yakubu Muhammad, 32, Monday, 17th July along Okene/Lokoja highway in a trailer coming from Port Harcourt to Kano.

In the same vein, operatives in Ogun State Wednesday, 19th July, recovered 810 parcels of cannabis weighing 604kg from the house of one Adetunji Abiodun.

A fresh bid to smuggle into Nigeria, another consignment of Colorado, a synthetic variant of cannabis, through the Tincan port in Apapa Lagos was again Friday, 21st July 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 importer’s agents has also been recovered and documented as evidence.

Commendation for agency’s operatives

Impressed by the volume of arrests and seizures made by officers and men of MMIA, Lagos, Bauchi, Adamawa, Ondo, Sokoto, Yobe, Edo, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Ogun, Nasarawa and Tincan Commands in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended them for jobs well done.

Marwa urged the operatives 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.

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