The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo Command, says it has discovered a suspected cannabis warehouse in Ukpuje forest in Owan West Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Buba Wakawa, the state commander of the agency, announced this at a news conference on Saturday in Benin.
Wakawa alleged that the suspected illicit drug village had four large cannabis warehouses with 233,778 kilogrammes of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis.
He said that the substance had an estimated street value of more than N1.4 billion.
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He also said that seven suspected drug barons believed to be running the cannabis trafficking syndicate had equally been apprehended.
“This is the largest single concentration of cannabis discovered by the command,” he said.
He gave the breakdown of the substance to include 318 bags of 80 kilogrammes each and 15,853 bags of 13 kilogrammes each.
Wakawa added that while the quantity seized weighed 2,249 kilogrammes, others weighing 231,529 kilogrammes were destroyed.
The state commander ascribed the success of the operation to the enabling environment created by the new chairman of the agency, retired Brig -Gen. Buba Marwa.
“We took delivery of two new vehicles presented to the command last week.
“This is the first assignment of the vehicles and it turned out to be the best for the command.
“We are grateful to the chairman, and this is a clear warning that there is no room for drug barons in the state,” he said.
The commander noted that the seizures represented a large chunk of the previous cannabis planting season.
“They planted, watered, harvested, and processed the drug only for us to dispossess them of theith! labour, because their action is criminal.
“The warehouses are located in the heart of the forest, yet we were able to uncover them based on intelligence gathering,” he explained.
Wakawa added that it took the combined team of NDLEA and combatant military personnel to overrun the drug trafficking syndicates.
He thanked the 4 Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Musa Sadiq, for the logistics and personnel assistance that led to the successful clampdown on the cannabis syndicates in the area.
He described the synergy between the Nigerian Army and NDLEA in the state as an unbeatable force against drugs and related crime in the society.
“The suspects will be investigated and the case charged to court soon,” the commander said.