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Wanted drug baron arrested in village mansion as NDLEA recovers meth, precursors, guns

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A major drug cartel behind the production and distribution of deadly psychoactive substance, methamphetamine, popularly called ‘mkpuru mmiri’ has been taken down by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, following the arrest of the leader of the syndicate, 42-year-old Joachin Chikaodi Mbonu and his associate in his mansion tucked in his Umuomi village, Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru local government area of Imo State.

Femi Babafemi Director, Media and Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja Tuesday.

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He maintained that the cartel with operational bases in Imo and Rivers state became a target of the Agency following intelligence indicating it is responsible for the distribution of substantial quantity of methamphetamine in South East, South South and other parts of the country.

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He added that after weeks of surveillance, officers of a special operations unit of the Agency on Friday 5th July 2024, tracked and traced the drug lord to his village mansion in Imo state where he was caught with a member of his cartel, Kenneth Chibuike Ofoegbu, 34, with different quantities of methamphetamine, its precursor chemicals, a pump action gun and cartridges recovered.

“Exhibits recovered from the house include: 419.99 grams of methamphetamine; 750 grams of iodine, a precursor chemical for meth; 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate, a precursor chemical for meth; two electronic weighing scales and a pump action gun with four cartridges.”

“The operatives moved swiftly to another of Mbonu’s hideout located at 11 Redemption Avenue, Port Harcourt, Rivers state where they recovered additional exhibits: 750 grams of processed sodium bicarbonate; 170 grams of plain sodium bicarbonate and 75 grams of meth.”

The Director further stated that another raid in the home of one of Mbonu’s associates, Odoemenam Pedro Chinedu, currently at large, at Njaba LGA, Imo state, led to the recovery of another pump action gun with 25 cartridges, among other items.

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He continued that while the kingpin cools his heels in custody, two of his mansions in Imo state have been marked for possible forfeiture to the federal government.

He noted that Mbonu had escaped from South Africa where he lived for years and mastered the art of cooking methamphetamine after he came under investigation for drug dealings.

He highlighted that upon his return to Nigeria, he continued the criminal trade by setting up clandestine laboratories in remote villages to shield his nefarious activities.

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Reacting to the successful taking down of the meth syndicate, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) commended the officers and men involved in the multi-pronged operation, while he stated that the manner the interdiction was carried out should send a strong signal to other cartels that there’s no hiding place for them in any part of the country.

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