The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has infiltrated networks of cannabis syndicates operating in Edo State’s Opuje forests. In a two-day operation, the NDLEA set fire to enormous tents and warehouses holding more than 317,417 kg of psychoactive narcotics.
This comes just a few days after Brig Gen Buba Marwa (rtd), the chairman of the NDLEA, threatened to make life difficult for drug lords and cartels in the coming year if they do not give up their involvement in the illegal trade.
The 37-year-old police imposter Omoruan Theophilus, who poses as a police inspector to transport drugs from the forests to the metropolis, together with three other people, Aigberuan Jacob (42), Ekeinde Anthony Zaza (53), and Naomi Patience Ohiewere (42), were named by NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi.
According to the NDLEA, “the Opuje community in the Owan West local government area of Edo State is notorious for cannabis cultivation. The cartels invest enormous resources there, cutting down valuable trees in the forest reserves and cultivating cannabis on a large scale that spans hundreds of hectares. After harvest, they construct warehouses inside forest reserves and hire armed youngsters to guard the warehouses around the clock.
“Hundreds of NDLEA operatives trekked for hours to reach the forest on January 18; the following day, they were ambushed with fire by armed youths as they left the neighborhood, but they were able to successfully escape without suffering any casualties aside from the significant financial losses they caused the cartels.”
During a combined operation carried out by NDLEA operatives with their Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counterparts, a total of counterfeit $269,000 were recovered from the syndicate at the Oniru Shoprite area of Lekki, Lagos, where three suspects were arrested.