By Onozure Dania
Lagos—National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency NDLEA, yesterday, arraigned a man, Ilomuanya Uzoma , also known as Uzo, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, for allegedly operating and financing a hard drug cartel, Drug Trafficking Organisation, DTO.
Uzoma 49, who is a prince of Obinuagwu community in Orlu Local Government of Imo State, was arraigned alongside one Okeagu Michael 26, also known as Uwa, before Justice Saliu Saidu.
They are standing trial on a five count-charge bordering on conspiracy, operating a drug cartel, production of methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of the banned drug.
The second defendant, Michael, and others who are at large, was also alleged to have aided the first defendant in transferring funds which are alleged proceeds of the drugs, to his and his company named Ugojess International Limited bank accounts.
The duo was re-arraigned on an amended six-count charge.
The prosecutor, Lambert Nor, told the court that the defendants were arrested with 77.960 kilogrammes of methamphetamine in two drug laboratories situated at Obinugwu Village, Orlu Local Government Area at 3, Barrister Declan Uzoma Close, New Owerri, Imo State, on November 9, 2018, where they were producing the banned substance in large quantities.
He said items that were recovered from the defendants, included bags of sodium hydroxide, bags of caustic soda pearls, mantle beaters, white nylon bags, gas burners, channel hoses, electronic weighing scales, protective masks, plastic funnels and other equipment.
The offences according to the prosecutor, are contrary to and punishable under sections 11(a), 20(1)(e), 20(1)(f), 20(1)(g) and 14(b), of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30 Laws of The Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charges. In view of their plea, Nor, asked the court for a trial date and also urged the court to remand them in prison custody, pending trial.