NDLEA’s war against drug cartels yields more fruits

Tons of Tramadol, cannabis have been seized in Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa/Ibom and Oyo State just as a wanted drug kingpin behind the 2000.6kg Cannabis Sativa seized in a concrete mixer truck in Adamawa State on 2nd December 2021, Henry Chukwuneku Okamaru (a.k.a. Lawrence Ik Okamaru) is now in detention.

Director of Media and Advocacy of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Femi Babafemi confirmed that Okamaru was arrested in Ondo State after five months of manhunt.

It will be recalled that the duo of Matthew Donuwe and Friday Nmborgwu were arrested in connection with the consignment last December, and both confessed that the concrete mixer truck with Lagos registration number SMK 890 XB was loaded with the illicit drug in Ogbese, Ondo State.

The suspects were said to have travelled for two months on the road before arriving Adamawa State where they were eventually arrested by the NDLEA operatives.

Babafemi said, “investigations reveal that Okamaru is one of the leaders of a cannabis cultivation cartel that operates in the Ondo-Ekiti axis, while he shuttles between Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta State from where he coordinates supplies of illicit consignments to Northern parts of the country and Lagos State.

“The drug lord has also been identified as a member of an international drug trafficking ring, while he shuttles between Nigeria and South Africa where he settles his family. He has a strong control and stake in cannabis cultivation in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States with large storage facilities in Lagos and Abbi in Delta State from where his consignments are distributed year round.”

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He added that a 36-year-old Nigerian based in Italy, Nwakanma Michael Uche had also been arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA Abuja for ingesting pellets of heroin.

Nwakanma, from Arodizuogu Village, Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested on way to board Air France Airline enroute Abuja-Paris-Milan, Italy on May 15, 2022.

He was thereafter kept under observation, during which he excreted 95 pellets of the illicit drug. He claimed he came to see his parents in Nigeria after 12 years in Italy and to complete his father’s traditional marriage rites. He added that he was to be paid N1.5million after a successful delivery of the drugs in Milan.

Babafemi further disclosed, “Across five states of Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo, NDLEA operatives intensified their offensive action against drug cartels. In Edo, a pharmacy along Sapele Road, Benin, was raided on Friday 27th May following intelligence and prolonged surveillance.

“The owner of the store, Thaddeus Uliagbafusi, 58, was arrested while a total of 130,670 tablets of different controlled drugs, 1,396 ampoules of pentazocine injection and 743 bottles of codeine were recovered from a secret location where the drugs are repackaged. This followed a similar raid of a drug joint operated by Mrs. Christianah Gabriel, 53, at Uromi, Esan North East LGA, Edo state, who was arrested with 25kg cannabis.

“While 15, 000 ampoules of pentazocine injection were seized by operatives in Kaduna along Abuja-Kaduna express road, 12,500 tablets of Diazepam were intercepted along Okene-Abuja highway on Thursday 26th May. The drug exhibits were found inside a truck conveying motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra to Kaduna.

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“In Akwa Ibom, a female drug dealer, Irene Emmanuel Bassey was arrested on Saturday 28th May, during a search of her house at Ikpa town, Esit Eket LGA where 30.5kg cannabis was recovered, while one Muideen Rasaki was nabbed with 90.8kg cannabis at Elere, Boluwaji area of Ibadan South-East LGA.”

Commending the officers and men of the Directorate of Intelligence, (NAIA), Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo State Commands of the agency for the series of exploits in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) “charged them and their compatriots across the country not to relent in their offensive action against drug cartels and their kingpins.”

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