In a major crackdown on drug trafficking operations, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) made significant arrests and seizures across several states in Nigeria.
The Agency in a statement by its Spokesperson Femi Babafemi on Sunday, said the operation culminated in the arrest of a notorious drug kingpin and the recovery of a massive drug haul, including opioids, skunk, and cannabis.
In Lagos, NDLEA operatives apprehended Charles Uwagbale, a 48-year-old drug lord known for sponsoring young Nigerians to traffic Class A drugs to Europe, particularly Italy.
They caught him red-handed as he was preparing a mule, Uju Dominic, to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine meant for distribution in Italy. Both were taken into custody, and the agency seized a total of 1.427 kilograms of cocaine from the operation.
The agency had also thwarted an attempt to smuggle a vast quantity of Tramadol pills, with a street value estimated at about Three Billion Seven Hundred Million Naira (N3.7 billion), into Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The consignments were suspected to have been imported from India and Pakistan, with Freetown, Sierra Leone, being the final destination for some of the seized drugs.
In various other states, NDLEA operatives recovered substantial amounts of opioids and cannabis.
Notably, they destroyed 33 hectares of cannabis farms in Ondo and Edo states and arrested several individuals involved in the cultivation and distribution of illicit substances.
The agency’s operations were not limited to land routes, as they also intercepted a shipment of Colorado, a synthetic variant of cannabis, at the Tincan port in Apapa, Lagos. The illicit substance was concealed in one of four used vehicles inside a container coming from Montreal, Canada.
Three suspects were apprehended, and NDLEA officers uncovered and documented evidence of a bribe attempt of N20 million (converted to $22,900) offered by the importer’s agents.
Impressed by the successful operations, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, commended the officers and urged them to continue collaborating with other security agencies and stakeholders to combat substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.