Imo: NDLEA arrests wanted drug baron, recovers meth, precursors, guns

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.

NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy Femi Babafemi announced this  in a  statement made available to Blueprint in Lagos.

He said the cartel with operational bases in Imo and Rivers states became a target of the agency following intelligence, indicating  that it is responsible for the distribution of substantial quantity of methamphetamine in South east, South- south and other parts of the country.

“After weeks of surveillance, officers of a special operations unit of the agency on Friday,  July 5,  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 spokesperson also stated that 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.

He said 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  He said 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.

“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 and  upon his return to Nigeria, he continued the criminal trade by setting up clandestine laboratories in remote villages to shield his nefarious activities,” he stated.