By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the weekend busted a warehouse in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos belonging to a tramadol cartel, arresting two of its kingpins, seizing millions of opioids pills and bottles worth over N5 billion.
This is even as anti-narcotics officers of the agency also uncovered and dismantled a clandestine skuchies laboratory in a remote part of Sagamu, Ogun state where several equipment and various quantities of illicit substances used to mass produce the dangerous new psychoactive substance were recovered on Saturday.
In a statement on Sunday, the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi said the drug cartels took the first heat last Tuesday from determined officers of the agency who intercepted an imported consignment of Loud, a strong variant of cannabis, weighing 4,878.72 kilogrammes along Awolowo road Ikoyi, Lagos, adding that after a near fatal encounter with some suspected fake security agents escorting the drugs, the NDLEA operatives succeeded in recovering the consignment with a white truck marked BDG 548 XX conveying it.
He said this was followed by the seizure of 121,630 pills of pharmaceutical opioids and some quantity of molly from a dealer, Charles Okeke last Wednesday at Idumota area of Lagos Island, revealing that another effort by the agency to bring the drug cartels to their kneels paid off last Friday when operatives tracked and located a major warehouse for pharmaceutical opioids at 17, Sir Ben Onyeka street, off Ago palace way in Amuwo Odofin area of the state while the owner of the store, Aloysius Okeke was arrested.
He disclosed that illicit drugs recovered from the warehouse include: 3,264,630 pills of tramadol; 3,490 bottles of codeine and 915,000 capsules of pregabalin 300mg.
Babafemi noted that this came on the heels of the arrest of a suspect, Olarenwaju Wahab who distributes for the cartel same day, disclosing that recovered from his white Mercedes distribution bus include: 14,690 bottles of codeine-based syrup; 402, 500 tablets of tramadol 250mg; 50,000 tablets of tramadol 225mg and 210,000 capsules of pregabalin 300mg.
The spokesman also disclosed that in neighbouring Ogun state, operatives in the early hours of Saturday also discovered and dismantled a clandestine laboratory on the outskirts of Sagamu from where skuchies, a highly potent psychoactive substance made with a blend of cannabis sativa, tramadol, rohypnol, Exol-5 and industrial codeine, was being produced in large quantity, packaged and distributed in jerry cans and bottles.
He said all the equipment for the production including power generators, industrial gas cylinders, drums and kegs as well as various quantities of illicit drugs such as 214 kilogrammes cannabis; 1,440 capsules of tramadol; 480 tablets of swinol; 1,440 tablets of rophpnol and 114 litres of industrial codeine, among others were recovered from the building before sealing off the premises.
Babafemi said in Abuja, operatives of the FCT Command of the agency last Thursday raided the notorious Tora bora hills in the city and recovered 350.7 kilogrammes of skunk and 794 bottles of codeine hidden under rocks, adding that 756 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa were recovered at Dawo village, Kaga local government area of Borno State and transferred to the agency last Friday by officers of the Nigerian Army, FOB 29 Task Force Brigade, Benishiekh, in conjunction with hunters group, based on intelligence from the State Command of NDLEA.
In Ondo state, operatives stormed Alayere, Akure North local government area, where they arrested a suspect, Sunday Make with 275 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa and seeds, while a total of 272 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa were recovered from two suspects: Nwele Friday, 35, and Egbe Nnaemeka, 47 at Ifo layout, Abakpa Nike, Enugu; while in Katsina, 34.3 kilogrammes of cannabis were also recovered from an uncompleted building in Muduru, Mani village after which the owner, Murtala Isiya was arrested in a follow up operation.
In the same vein, an alleged notorious drug dealer, who is physically challenged, Abiodun Emaria, 40, was last Saturday arrested with 6.2 kilogrammes of cannabis at his hideout in Ohada village, Uhunmonde local government area of Edo state.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) while commending the officers and men of Lagos, FCT, Ondo, Enugu, Borno, Katsina and Edo Commands for the arrests and seizures, charged them and their compatriots across the country to sustain the heat on drug cartels in Nigeria while balancing their efforts on supply reduction with drug demand reduction activities.