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2 Church Officials, Others Detained in NDLEA Drug Bust in Delta

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has arrested four members of a drug syndicate, including two church officials and two women, involved in trafficking the deadly opioid, fentanyl, in Delta State.

This significant development was announced by the NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Abuja.

In addition to this operation, the anti-narcotic agency also executed a raid on a skucchies factory in Ogun and seized over 4,560kgs of skunk in interdiction operations across Lagos, Adamawa, and Osun states.

This series of arrests is the culmination of several months of intensive, intelligence-led investigation into the syndicates responsible for the distribution of the lethal opioid, which is reportedly 100 times more potent than heroin.

“The bust of the fentanyl cartel operating from Warri, Delta State, is coming barely a month after two members of another syndicate were arrested at Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, Onitsha South LGA, Anambra State,” Babafemi said.

The arrested church officials, Adewale Abayomi Ayeni, 39, and Ebipakebina Appeal, 41, are affiliated with Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministries (aka Mercy City Church) in Warri, Delta State.

Ayeni oversees the church’s prayer call centre, and Appeal is responsible for transporting international guests from the airport to the church.

Two female accomplices, Naomi David, 28, a staff member of United Parcel Services, UPS, and Stacy Njideka, 27, a business associate of Ayeni’s, were also apprehended in Warri during the investigation.

These arrests are part of the NDLEA’s intensified efforts to clamp down on the distribution of lethal drugs like fentanyl, which according to Babafemi, is responsible for over 70 per cent of overdose deaths and a significant contributor to both fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States.

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