NDLEA Uncovers Lethal Drug, Fentanyl Syndicate in Anambra, Arrests Two
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, announced that its operatives have uncovered a syndicate engaged in the illegal importation and trafficking of a dangerous synthetic opioid called Fentanyl. According to NDLEA, this drug, which is 100 times more potent than Tramadol, has the potential to cause widespread harm among the targeted youth population that the cartels are exploiting.
NDLEA uncover lethal drug and also said it has arrested two members of the syndicate: Odoh Collins Oguejiofor and Oliver Chigozie Uzoma at Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, Onitsha South LGA, Anambra State, in well-coordinated and clinical operations.
A release on Tuesday by Femi Babafemi, Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, said the arrests come on the heels of an alert issued by the anti-narcotics Agency in 2022, that some criminal elements were plotting to flood the Nigerian market with the drug.
The statement said Fentanyl is currently responsible for over 70% overdose deaths as well as a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States, adding that according to the CDC in the US, Fentanyl is 80 times as potent as morphine and 100 times more potent than heroin.
Babafemi said following credible intelligence and synergy with local and international partners, the NDLEA was able to mobilise necessary assets to trace the illicitly manufactured drug to the Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, reputed to be the largest drug market in West Africa, after months of undercover monitoring.
“Convinced that the Agency has gathered sufficient evidence to nail the suspects, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) ordered a deployment of operatives to pick members of the syndicate one after the other.
Odoh Collins Oguejiofor faced the first arrest during a business mission, caught with packets containing 100 micrograms of Fentanyl.
Odoh was found in possession of packs of liquid Fentanyl, whereas Uzoma had various quantities of banned and controlled drugs, including Fentanyl, confiscated from him.
“They include: Ampules of Fentanyl Injection; Ozempic solution for injection in pre-filled pens; Ampules of Sustanon 250mg/ml; Ampules of Rivavirin injection 200mg/2ml; Ampules of Erythropoietin injection; Ampules of Recombinant Anti Rho-D Immunoglobulin injection 300MG; Ampules of Pethidine 100mg/2ml solution for injection and Zoladex 3.6mg Goserelin,” he said.
Reacting to the arrest of members of the syndicate, Marwa commended all officers and men of the Agency involved in the operation while directing them to intensify the crackdown on other members of the cartel who may have gone underground.
“We’ll no doubt hunt down every member of this criminal gang before they do further harm to our public health especially our youth population.
“In the meantime, I’ll like to thank our international partners for the huge confidence in us and their support and partnership for the benefit of humanity.
“In the same vein, I’ll urge parents and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting experimenting with this illicit substance”, Marwa stated.
Meanwhile, the Agency has stated that exposure to this lethal opioid, which can manifest in various forms as demonstrated by the seizure, can lead to the following symptoms: pinpoint pupils, drowsiness or loss of consciousness, slow and shallow breathing, choking or gurgling sounds, a limp body, and pale, blue, or cold skin.