In a series of coordinated and intelligence-led operations across various parts of Lagos state, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has dealt a significant blow to the illicit drug trade by successfully dismantling three major drug syndicates.
According to NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the operation was carried out by a specialized unit of the NDLEA which led to the arrest of several high-profile individuals and the recovery of multi-billion naira worth of cocaine, opioids, and other illicit substances.
In a remarkable display of efficiency, NDLEA operatives apprehended a female kingpin, Faith Ebele Nwankwo, on Wednesday, August 9th, at her residence in Festac, Lagos. Nwankwo, known as the head of one of the syndicates, was apprehended shortly after returning from a warehouse where she had loaded a substantial quantity of tramadol into an unmarked vehicle.
The subsequent search of her residence and the warehouse unveiled a staggering Two Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand (2,750,000) pills of tramadol, along with a cache of other illicit drugs, signaling a major dent in the operations of her syndicate.
The operatives also targeted a transnational syndicate involved in the importation, exportation, distribution, and dealing of cocaine and Canadian loud and acting on solid intelligence, the Special Unit tracked the syndicate to an upscale estate in Lekki-Ajah area, leading to the apprehension of Urama Chinemelum Precious and Adelakun Ilelabayo Oluade. Subsequent investigation and follow-up operation revealed additional drug stockpiles, further weakening the grip of this dangerous network.
In another swift move, NDLEA operatives thwarted the efforts of a syndicate focused on diverting a precursor chemical used in methamphetamine production. Two key members of the syndicate, Udeh Vincent Ogbonna and Okonkwo Ifeanyi Uzozie, were apprehended at a commercial bus terminal, attempting to send the concealed substance to the South East. The recovery of a significant amount of US dollars from one of the suspects highlights the international scope of their operations.
The relentless operations extended beyond Lagos state, resulting in the recovery of over 13,391.8 kilograms of skunk across several other states, including Ogun, Ondo, Edo, and Nasarawa. The NDLEA’s collaborative effort with the Nigerian Army and other law enforcement agencies underscores their commitment to eradicating the drug trade at all levels.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), praised the Special Unit’s proactive and pragmatic approach in dismantling these major drug syndicates. He lauded the professionalism of the NDLEA personnel involved in the operations across multiple states and urged them to remain vigilant in their ongoing efforts to curb drug trafficking and protect society.
The successful takedown of these three (3) major drug syndicates is a significant milestone in the fight against illicit drugs, sending a clear message that the NDLEA is resolute in its commitment to uprooting drug-related criminal networks and ensuring a safer future for all citizens.