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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

NDLEA busts drug trafficking operation, arrests key figures

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has made significant strides in combating drug trafficking in Nigeria. Two Qatar-based drug kingpins, Eyah Celestine Nnamdi (alias Murphy) and Ugwuoke Peter Oluchukwu, were apprehended following the interception of a methamphetamine consignment at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos. The operation, which led to the arrest of Ugwuoke on June 9, 2023, unveiled a series of interconnected drug networks operating in Nigeria and beyond.

Ugwuoke, carrying an Ivorian international passport under the name Hien Narcisse, was bound for Doha on a Qatar Airways flight. During a routine inspection, NDLEA officers discovered a false bottom concealment in his black carry-on luggage, revealing two parcels containing crystalline substance weighing 1.00kg. Subsequent investigations unveiled Ugwuoke’s Nigerian nationality and his collaboration with a senior partner, Murphy, who was traced to Eziani in Nsukka LGA, Enugu State.

The NDLEA swiftly dispatched operatives to Eziani, leading to the arrest of ‘Murphy,’ whose true identity was revealed as Eyah Celestine Nnamdi. A former resident of Indonesia, Nnamdi had relocated to Doha, Qatar. The agency’s investigation into these drug kingpins shed light on their elaborate network and modus operandi.

In addition to the Qatar-related operation, the NDLEA has made several other significant seizures across the country. In Kaduna State, a female pharmacist named Ikwebe Ori Hellen was apprehended for attempting to use forged documents to purchase and distribute six cartons of pentazocine injection, comprising 2,000 ampules. Hellen confessed to using fake documents from a Kaduna hospital and planned to distribute the drugs in Kaduna, Abuja, and Sokoto. The consignment was initially intercepted at the MMIA’s local wing in Ikeja while being sent to Kaduna.

Further drug raids in Niger State resulted in the seizure of 1,072 kilograms of cannabis. One raid took place at the Oyoyo Filling Station along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, where four suspects were arrested. The following day, NDLEA operatives intercepted a truck carrying gallons of palm oil from Umunede, Delta State, to Garki market in Abuja. Upon inspection, they discovered 19 jumbo bags of cannabis weighing 346kg. The truck driver and his two assistants, along with the owner of the illicit consignment, were promptly arrested.

The NDLEA has also been actively destroying cannabis farms across Delta, Edo, and Ondo States. In one instance, 18 hectares of cannabis farms were demolished in Umuchime village, Ogume, Ndokwa West LGA, Delta State. In Edo State, a raid on Awakpa forest in Owan West LGA led to the arrest of individuals found on a hut located on a 2.5-hectare cannabis farm, resulting in the recovery of 102 kilograms of the substance. Additionally, a dealer’s house in Uyiwnendi community, Ikpoba Oka LGA, Ondo State, was raided, leading to the discovery of various illicit drugs.

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