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NDLEA Dismantles Major Drug Cartel, Arrests Leader In Imo Village Mansion

The NDLEA has arrested cartel leader Chikaodi Mbonu and his associate after dismantling his drug cartel in Imo State.

In a significant crackdown, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has dismantled a major drug cartel involved in the production and distribution of methamphetamine, commonly known as ‘mkpuru mmiri’. The operation led to the arrest of the cartel leader, 42-year-old Chikaodi Mbonu, and his associate, Chibuike Ofoegbu aged 34, in a mansion located in Umuomi village, Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru local government area of Imo State.

According to NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi, the cartel, with operational bases in Imo and Rivers states, had been under surveillance following intelligence reports indicating its significant role in methamphetamine distribution across the South East, South South, and other regions of Nigeria.

After weeks of meticulous surveillance, NDLEA’s special operations unit tracked Mbonu to his village mansion last Friday. The arrest yielded various quantities of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals, a pump-action gun, and cartridges. Recovered items included 419.99 grammes of methamphetamine, 750 grammes of iodine, 500 grammes of sodium bicarbonate, two electronic weighing scales, and a pump-action gun with four cartridges.

Further operations at another of Mbonu’s hideouts located at 11, Redemption Avenue, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, uncovered an additional 750 grammes of processed sodium bicarbonate, 170 grammes of plain sodium bicarbonate and 75 grammes of meth. A subsequent raid at the home of Mbonu’s associate, Odoemenam Chinedu, currently at large, in Njaba local government area of Imo State, led to the seizure of another pump-action gun with 25 cartridges and other items.

“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,” Babafemi stated.

Mbonu, who previously escaped from South Africa amid drug dealing investigations, had mastered methamphetamine production and continued his illicit trade by setting up clandestine laboratories in remote Nigerian villages upon his return.

Reacting to the operation’s success, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd) praised the officers and men involved, emphasising that the comprehensive interdiction serves as a stern warning to other drug cartels, that there is no hiding place for them in Nigeria.

Michael Olugbode, Melissa Enoch

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