OPERATIVES of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have discovered 13 million tramadol pills in a mansion in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
This was disclosed this morning in a statement released by the agency’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi.
Babafemi stated that no less than 13,451,466 pills of 225 milligrammes of tramadol worth N8,86 billion in street value were recovered from one of the mansions of a billionaire drug baron, Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia, in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki.
The agency said it has arrested Chukwukadibia, who is the chairman of AutoNation Motors Ltd.
The arrest came barely two months after the NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another drug kingpin in the estate, Chris Emeka Nzewi.
Nzewa was arrested on Saturday, 30 July along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who was allegedly cooking the illicit drug for him.
At least, 258.74 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.
Babafemi added that the operatives stormed the home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin following a credible piece of intelligence on Friday, September 30.
“A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg, which contains 13, 451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day.
“Before his arrest, Ugochukwu, who hails from the Ihiala local government area of Anambra State, has been on the agency’s watch list as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria. Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC, one of which he uses to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lives in the one at Plot Z-130 Road 67, and is using another as his office. Five exotic vehicles have also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs, including a bullet-proof, jeep have been successfully removed to the agency’s facility,” he wrote.
The chairman/chief executive of the NDLEA, Brigadier-General (retired) Mohammed Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence, while also appreciating Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
Marwa reassured Nigerians and other stakeholders of the agency’s preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving the people from the drug scourge.
He stressed that the partnership was a further warning to the drug barons and cartels, noting that there would be no hiding place for them anymore, “because we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them.”
The ICIR had reported on September 19 how operatives of the NDLEA busted a major cocaine warehouse in a secluded estate in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The agency recovered 1.8 tons (1,855 kilogrammes) of the illicit drug worth more than $278.25 million, equivalent to about N194.7 billion in street value.