NDLEA Uncovers Transborder Cartel, Arrests 5 Members

Crime Watch

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) announced on Sunday that it had uncovered a transborder cartel operating in the United Arab Emirates, Togo, Benin Republic, Oman, Thailand, the European continent, and several states in Nigeria. This was made known in a statement by Director, Media, and Advocacy, NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, adding that the operation lasted for weeks and 5 members have been arrested.

According to him, the cartel was uncovered on December 29, 2022, when their freight agent was arrested by NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos while attempting to export 3 big automobile compressors filled with 27.50 kgs of skunk to the United Arab Emirates.

Further investigations into the arrested freight agent uncovered a bigger organized criminal group and NDLEA operatives were deployed to track the first member, Onuoha Obioma who lives in Togo and Benin Republic but occasionally visits Lagos state.

Obioma was arrested on January 7, 2023, with air compressors used to conceal 15.7 kg of skunk and methamphetamine; further questioning of the suspect revealed 2 other members-Dubai based Ugo Kelechi and an Anambra-based businessman, Iwueke Ugochukwu.

NDLEA operatives arrested the 2 other members on January 10 while on holiday in their ancestral home in Igbejere community, Imo State.

The group’s leader Ezenweke Obinna, an automobile parts dealer was eventually arrested on January 14 at a bar in Lagos state.

Babafemi said, “A search of his home led to the recovery of 607g of ephedrine, a handful of cannabis weighing 20g as well as other paraphernalia including 271g of dimethyl sulfone; used as a cutting agent for ephedrine."

Other items recovered from him include a weighing scale, an international passport, and a chemical precursor and an active ingredient for the production of methamphetamine.