By Emma Njoku
Wanted drug kingpin, Henry Chukwuneku Okamaru (a.k.a. Lawrence Ik Okamaru), who was behind the 2000.6kg cannabis sativa seized in a concrete mixer truck in Adamawa State, on December 2, 2021, has been arrested in Ondo state, after five months of manhunt by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr. Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said two suspects: Matthew Donuwe and Friday Nmborgwu, who were arrested in connection to the consignment last December, had confessed that the concrete mixer truck with Lagos registration number SMK 890 XB was loaded with the illicit drug in Ogbese, Ondo state, while they travelled for two months on the road before arriving Adamawa, where they were eventually arrested.
He said investigations revealed that Okamaru was one of the leaders of a cannabis cultivation cartel that operated in the Ondo-Ekiti axis, while he shuttled between Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta State from where he coordinated supplies of illicit consignments to Northern parts of the country and Lagos State.
“The drug lord has also been identified as a member of an international drug trafficking ring, while he shuttles between Nigeria and South Africa, where he settles his family. He has a strong control and stake in cannabis cultivation in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States with large storage facilities in Lagos and Abbi in Delta State, from where his consignments are distributed year round.
Meanwhile, a 36-year-old Nigerian, based in Italy, Nwakanma Uche, has excreted 95 pellets of heroin, after he was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA.
Uche was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, after it was discovered that he had ingested the pellets.
Babafemi said that Uche, who hailed from Arodizuogu Village, Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was nabbed while trying to board an Air France plane on his way to Paris, France, and Milan, Italy, on Sunday, May 15, 2022.
“He was, thereafter, kept under observation, during which he excreted the 95 pellets of the illicit drug.
“He claimed he came to see his parents in Nigeria after 12 years in Italy. He added that he was to be paid N 1.5 million after a successful delivery of the drugs in Milan,” he said.
Babafemi also disclosed that operatives of the anti-narcotic agency seized several tons of illicit drugs following intensified offensive action against drug cartels across five states of Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo.
(Continued on www.sunnewsonline.com)
“In Edo, a pharmacy along Sapele Road, Benin, was raided on Friday, May 27, following intelligence and prolonged surveillance. The owner of the store, Thaddeus Uliagbafusi, 58, was arrested, while a total of 130,670 tablets of different controlled drugs, 1,396 ampoules of pentazocine injection and 743 bottles of codeine were recovered from a secret location where the drugs are repackaged. This followed a similar raid of a drug joint operated by Mrs. Christianah Gabriel, 53, at Uromi, Esan North East LGA, Edo state, who was arrested with 25kg cannabis.
“While 15, 000 ampoules of pentazocine injection were seized by operatives in Kaduna, along Abuja-Kaduna express road, 12,500 tablets of diazepam were intercepted along Okene-Abuja highway, on Thursday, May 26. The drug exhibits were found inside a truck conveying motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra to Kaduna.
“In Akwa Ibom, a female drug dealer, Irene Emmanuel Bassey, was arrested on Saturday, May 28, during a search of her house at Ikpa town, Esit Eket LGA, where 30.5kg cannabis was recovered, while one Muideen Rasaki was nabbed with 90.8kg cannabis, at the Elere, Boluwaji area of Ibadan South-East LGA.”
While commending the officers and men of the Directorate of Intelligence, NAIA, Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo state Commands of the agency for the series of arrests and seizures in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd) charged them and their compatriots across the country not to relent in their offensive action against drug cartels and their kingpins.