NDLEA busts drug baron’s home in Lagos, recovers N8.8bn worth of tramadol

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

Uba Group

Operatives of the National Drug Enforcement Agency have recovered 13,451,466 pills of Tramadol 225mg from one of the mansions of an alleged billionaire drug kingpin, Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia, in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki area of Lagos State.

The Director of Media and Advocacy of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, made this known on Monday in a statement he issued, adding that the seized drugs worth N8.86 billion in street value.

Babafemi said Chukwukadibia, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Limited, was arrested following credible intelligence made available to the agency.

To this end, he said NDLEA operatives stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug baron in VGC on September 30, 2022, adding that a search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg, which contained 13,451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day.

He said before Chukwukadibia’s arrest, the suspect has been on the agency’s watch list as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.

The statement further revealed that preliminary investigation showed that the alleged drug baron, an indigene of Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, has about six mansions within the VGC, one of which he used to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lived in the one at Plot Z-130, Road 67 and another as his office.

It added that five exotic vehicles have also been located in two of Chukwukadibia’s mansions, out of which two SUVs, including a bullet proof jeep, have been successfully removed to the agency’s facility

Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), in his reaction, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence, while also appreciating Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Marwa said, “I will like to reassure Nigerians and other stakeholders wherever they are located across the country and beyond of our preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving our people from the drug scourge.

“This partnership is a further warning to the drug barons and cartels that there is no hiding place for them anymore, because we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them.”

Chukwukadibia’s arrest and discovery of the drugs came barely two months after the NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another drug kingpin in the estate, Chris Emeka Nzewi.

Nzewi was arrested on July 30, 2022 along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who cooked the illicit drug for him.

At least 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.