NDLEA arrests Lagos drug lord as mule about to swallow 93 cocaine wraps

NDLEA arrests Lagos drug lord

A notorious drug kingpin who specialised in sponsoring young Nigerians to traffic cocaine to Europe was recently caught redhanded when operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) stormed his hotel room in the Okota area of Lagos State late on Friday, July 21, as he was preparing a recruited courier to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine meant for distribution in Italy.

The 48-year-old drug kingpin, Charles Uwagbale, had recruited Uju Dominic, 35, from his base in Italy with a deal to come to Nigeria, ingest 100 pellets of cocaine on Friday, July 21, and return to Italy on Saturday, July 22.

Upon his arrival in Nigeria, the mule was lodged in the Golden Heaven Hotel, located at Enoma Street, off Ago-Palace Way, Okota, Isolo, Lagos.

Uwagbale had taken 93 wraps of the Class A drug to his room for him to swallow at about 23:45 pm on Friday.

The process was ongoing when NDLEA operatives, who had been on their trail following credible intelligence, stormed their hotel room.

The suspects were arrested, and the drug exhibit, weighing 1.427 kilograms, was recovered from them.

Similarly, operatives of the Lagos State Command of the Agency who made the arrest had earlier, on Thursday, July 20, raided the Akala neighbourhood of Mushin, where 37.5kg of cannabis was recovered from the home of a fleeing suspect.

The anti-narcotic agency also thwarted the effort to smuggle 98 cartons containing 5,122,900 pills of Tramadol 225mg, with an estimated street value of N3.7 billion, into Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The concealed consignment was discovered by officials of NDLEA and Nigeria Customs Service at the airport and the DHL cargo warehouse. Preliminary findings revealed that the consignments were imported from India and Pakistan, while some of the seized consignments had Freetown, Sierra Leone, as their final destinations.

In the same vein, NDLEA operatives in Bauchi State also recovered 6,265,080 pills of opioids from three suspects: Emmanuel Onyebuchi, 32, Uche Iyida, 33, and Chinedu Ezeanyim, 32.

The three suspects were arrested alongside a truck driver and his assistant at Shopping Complex, Maiduguri Bye-Pass, Bauchi town, on Wednesday, July 19.

No fewer than 999,500 tablets of Exol-5 were also recovered by NDLEA operatives from a shop close to the market at Hong Road, Gombi, Adamawa State, on Friday, July 21. Similarly, 46,000 capsules of tramadol were seized from a suspect, Paul Ajaegbu, 36, along Owerri-Aba Road, Imo State, on Monday, July 17. The same suspect was earlier arrested on February 9, 2023, for the same offence.

In Ondo State, NDLEA operatives in their numbers stormed the Ofosu forest, where they destroyed 29 hectares of cannabis farms on Thursday, July 20. The quartet of Osamezu George Chukwuemeka, 51, who owns the farm; his wife, Kate Osamezu, 43; Agboola Wasiu, 37; and Mustapha Sanni, were arrested during the operation, while 118.5 kg of processed cannabis was recovered from the farm.

In another raid of the warehouse of a suspect at Elegbeka, Ose LGA, not less than 107 jumbo bags of the same illicit substance weighing 1,132.5kg were recovered on Monday, July 17.

In Sokoto State, NDLEA operatives arrested a suspect, Charles Nwankwo, 50, with 610kg of cannabis in the Tamaje area of Sokoto on Friday, July 21, while their counterparts in Yobe also nabbed a fleeing suspect, Shaibu Musa, 29, in Dawasa. Musa had offered the anti-narcotic agents a bribe of N500,000 following the seizure of 36kg of skunk in his house on Wednesday, July 19.

In Edo State, the agency’s operatives raided the Utese forest in Ovia North East LGA, where they arrested Victor Asukwo Jack with 59 bags of processed cannabis sativa weighing 640kg, on Monday, July 17.

His two cannabis farms, measuring 1.49 hectares and 2.5 hectares, were destroyed.

Also, Endurance Chukwuma, 50, was arrested with seven bags of processed cannabis sativa weighing 68kg, while his cannabis farm measuring 0.25 hectares was destroyed.

A total of 273 kg of cannabis was also intercepted in a Toyota Sienna vehicle marked RBC 451 CM on Wednesday, July 19, at Ogida, Benin City, and a suspect, Lucky Oriakhi, 41, was arrested.

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