NDLEA Destroys 317 Tons Cannabis in Edo Forests

"Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, making real the pledge to make 2023 hellish to drug lords as they stormed the Opuje forests in Edo State where 317.4 metric tons of cannabis stored in massive warehouses were completely destroyed.

The daring operations took place just hours after the NDLEA’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, retired Brig.-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa vowed to make 2023 a turbulent year for drug barons and cartels unless they desist from trading in illicit substances.

The anti-narcotic agency’s Spokesman, Femi Babafemi who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, said a 37-year-old police impersonator, one Omoruan Theophilus, who parades as a Police Inspector to convey the drugs from the forests to the cities and three others were apprehended in connection with the drugs.

Babafemi named other suspects as Aigberuan Jacob, 42; Ekeinde Anthony Zaza, 53, and 42-year-old Naomi Patience Ohiewere."

 “The Opuje community in Owan West Local Government Area, Edo State, is notorious for cannabis cultivation, where the cartels invest huge resources, cutting down economic trees of the forest reserves and cultivating cannabis on a large scale, running into hundreds of hectares. After harvest, they build warehouses inside the forest reserves and employ the services of armed youths to protect the warehouses 24/7,” the statement read.

Babafemi disclosed that it took hundreds of operatives hours of trekking to access the forest on Wednesday 18th January, revealing that they were ambushed with bonfire by armed youths on their way out of the community the following day.

He however noted that the gallant operatives were able to successfully leave the area without any casualty except the heavy investment losses inflicted on the cartels.

In the same vein, the agency on Thursday 19th January, through intelligence received from the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States busted a criminal syndicate involved in the trafficking of fake USD currency in Lagos.

“During a combined operation carried out by NDLEA operatives with their EFCC colleagues, a total of $269,000 counterfeit US dollars were recovered from the syndicate at Oniru Shoprite area of Lekki, Lagos, where three suspects were arrested,” the statement read.

While commending all the officers involved in the two special operations in Edo and Lagos for their professionalism and commitment, Gen. Marwa has since directed that the fake dollars recovered and suspects arrested in the Lekki operation be immediately transferred to the EFCC for possible prosecution.