July 9, 2024

NDLEA arrests wanted drug baron, recovers meth, precursors, guns in Imo

NDLEA arrests wanted drug baron, recovers meth, precursors, guns in Imo

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a major drug cartel behind the production and distribution of deadly psychoactive substance, methamphetamine, popularly called ‘mkpuru mmiri’.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Babafemi said that the NDLEA operatives also arrested the leader of the syndicate, 42-year-old Joachin Mbonu and his associate in his mansion tucked in Umuomi village, Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo.

He said that the cartel, with operational bases in Imo and Rivers, became a target of the agency following intelligence indicating it was responsible for the distribution of a substantial quantity of methamphetamine.

This, he said, was especially in the South-East, South-South and other parts of the country.

According to him, after weeks of surveillance, officers of a special operations unit of the agency on Friday, tracked and traced the drug lord to his village mansion in Imo state.

“The suspect was caught with a member of his cartel, Chibuike Ofoegbu, 34, with different quantities of methamphetamine, its precursor chemicals, a pump action gun and cartridges recovered.

“Exhibits recovered from the house include: 419.99 grams of methamphetamine; 750 grams of iodine, a precursor chemical for meth; and 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate.

“Others are a precursor chemical for meth; two electronic weighing scales and a pump action gun with four cartridges,” he said.

Babafemi said that the operatives moved swiftly to another of Mbonu’s hideout located at 11 Redemption Avenue, Port Harcourt, Rivers.

He said that additional exhibits: 750 grams of processed sodium bicarbonate; 170 grams of plain sodium bicarbonate and 75 grams of meth were recovered.

“Another raid in the home of one of Mbonu’s associates, Odoemenam Chinedu, currently at large, at Njaba LGA, Imo , led to the recovery of another pump action gun with 25 cartridges, among other items.

“While the kingpin cools his heels in custody, two of his mansions in Imo state have been marked for possible forfeiture to the Federal Government.

“Mbonu had escaped from South Africa where he lived for years and mastered the art of cooking methamphetamine after he came under investigation for drug dealings.

“Upon his return to Nigeria, he continued the criminal trade by setting up clandestine laboratories in remote villages to shield his nefarious activities,” he said.

Reacting to the successful taking down of the meth syndicate, the NDLEA Chairman, retired, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the multi-pronged operations.

Marwa stated that the manner the interdiction was carried out should send a strong signal to other cartels that there was no hiding place for them in any part of the country.