The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Sunday reported the arrest of five drug syndicate leaders operating in various regions of the world.
According to The Punch, various quantities of ephedrine, methamphetamine, and skunk were found during the investigation, along with air compressors that were being utilized to disguise and ship the illegal substances around the world.
The cartel leaders were shown to be dispersed across the European continent, the United Arab Emirates, the Benin Republic, Togo, Oman, Thailand, and the states of Anambra, Imo, and Lagos, according to a statement by the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
According to Babafemi, the cartel leaders were still coordinating efforts to transfer illegal shipments to Dubai and other locations across the world while on Christmas and New Year’s vacations in different sections of Nigeria.
When their freight agent, Onyeisue Chukwudi, was detained by NDLEA officers at the SAHCO export shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on December 29, their cover was blown.
A take operation resulted in the recovery of an additional five compressors from Chukwudi’s residence at 24 Legacy Road, Ayobo, Lagos, where he had attempted to export three large vehicle air compressors to Dubai.
The air compressors were hacked apart with welding equipment, and a total of 27.50 kg of skunk were removed.
The NDLEA sent operatives to track the first kingpin, Onuoha Obioma, who lived in the Benin Republic and Togo but occasionally traveled to Lagos, after learning that the agent was working for a larger organized criminal network.
On January 7, Obioma entered the waiting arms of agents carrying a backpack with extra air compressors needed to cloak 15.7kg of methamphetamine and skunk.
Two additional cartel leaders, Ugo Kelechi based in Dubai and Iwueke Ugochukwu aka Odugwu of Anambra, who were still taking advantage of the Christmas and New Year holidays in Imo, were brought to justice as a result of his remarks.
A Lexus SUV and a Toyota jeep were recovered from them after their arrest on January 10 at their ancestral houses in Umuobi village in Igbejere community, Ihitti-Uboma LGA, Imo.
Following several days of surveillance, the NDLEA finally caught the cartel leader, Ezenwekwe Obinna, an auto parts vendor at Alaba International Market, on January 14 at a bar in Mazamaza, Mile 2.
Following a search of his residence, 607g of ephedrine, 20g of cannabis, and other paraphernalia were found, including 271g of dimethyl sulfone, which was used to cut the ephedrine, Babafemi said.
A weighing scale, an international passport, a chemical precursor and a component used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine were also found on him.
The NDLEA also said that throughout the course of the previous week, interdiction operations in the states of Plateau, Edo, Delta, Taraba, Kogi, Kano, Lagos, and Adamawa resulted in the seizure of 2,601.5 kg of cannabis and 102,500 pills of prescription opioids.
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