The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has uncovered two major clandestine laboratories in Lagos and Anambra States, where dangerous illicit drug, crystal methamphetamine, called Mkpuru Mmiri in local parlance, was produced for distribution across Nigeria and for exportation.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday on the sting operations that led to the discovery of the labs, the NDLEA chairman and chief executive, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd), disclosed that the labs have been dismantled and two barons behind them arrested.
He said: “Following the outbreak of crystal methamphetamine abuse in the last quarter of 2021, predominantly in the South-East and the cry for help from many communities in the region because of the devastating effects the distribution and abuse of the dangerous stimulant drug were having on their youths and others, the NDLEA deployed all available assets to find the primary source of manufacturing of the drug in Nigeria and arrest the barons behind it.”
The NDLEA boss also said efforts in the past seven months against the cartel behind the Methamphetamine scourge, have led to the arrest of four kingpins and a cook.
“Now, we have added two barons and another cook. This no doubt is a loud statement to those involved in the criminal illicit drug trade that it is time for them to quit or risk losing it all; that is losing their freedom, investment and assets acquired through proceeds from the illegal business.
“I am pleased to inform the public today that, after months of painstaking intelligence gathering, diligent tracking and coordinated offensive action, we recorded a breakthrough on Saturday, July 30, 2022, when officers and men of the agency successfully busted two methamphetamine manufacturing facilities, called Meth laboratories.
“The first one, located in Victoria Garden City (VGC) Estate of Lekki, Lagos, is owned by a suspected baron, Chris Emeka Nzewi, while the second, in Nise community of Awka South local government area of Anambra State was owned by Paul Ozoemenam. The owners of these two illicit meth laboratories were successfully arrested alongside Sunday Ukah from Aba, Abia State, the cook or chemist that produced the drugs for them.
“The laboratory in Lagos was set up inside the Boys’ quarter building of a four-bedroom duplex. From there, we recovered a total of 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug. The complete paraphernalia of laboratory equipment such as gas cylinders, giant gas burners, industrial face masks, industrial gloves, tubes and flat-bottomed conical flasks, among others were also found.”
The NDLEA boss said the lab busts also exposed the interconnectivity among syndicates involved in meth production, adding that the cook was hired by both producers to produce for the VGC lab, as well as the lab in Anambra.