NDLEA arrests drug syndicate, recovers meth, gun in Imo

By Adeyanju Esther

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has successfully dismantled a major drug cartel involved in the production and distribution of methamphetamine, known as ‘mkpuru mmiri.’

This achievement follows the arrest of the syndicate’s leader, 42-year-old Joachin Chikaodi Mbonu, and his associate in their mansion in Umuomi village, Imo State.

NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, on Tuesday  disclosed that the agency targeted the cartel, which operated in Imo and Rivers states, based on intelligence indicating their significant role in distributing methamphetamine across the South East, South South, and other parts of Nigeria.

During the operation, conducted by a special operations unit on Friday, Mbonu and Kenneth Chibuike Ofoegbu were apprehended with various quantities of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals, and firearms including a pump-action gun with cartridges.

Recovered exhibits from Mbonu’s residence included 419.99 grams of methamphetamine, 750 grams of iodine (a methamphetamine precursor), 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate (another methamphetamine precursor), electronic weighing scales, and firearms.

The NDLEA also raided another of Mbonu’s hideouts in Port Harcourt, where additional sodium bicarbonate and methamphetamine were seized. Further operations at the home of Mbonu’s associate in Imo state led to the discovery of more firearms.

Joachin Chikaodi Mbonu had previously escaped scrutiny in South Africa, where he honed his methamphetamine production skills before returning to Nigeria to continue his illegal activities. He established clandestine laboratories in remote villages to avoid detection.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA,

Brig Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), praised the operation as a clear message to other drug cartels nationwide, emphasising that there is no safe haven for such criminal enterprises in Nigeria.

As investigations continue, authorities have earmarked two of Mbonu’s mansions in Imo state for potential forfeiture to the federal government.

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