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Nigeria’s Anti-Narcortics Agency Arrests Notorious Drug Kingpin, Charles Uwagbale, in Lagos

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LAGOS, Nigeria – The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on Friday, July 21, 2023, apprehended a notorious drug kingpin, Charles Uwagbale, 48, in his hotel room in the Okota area of Lagos.

At the time, Uwagbale was preparing a courier to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine destined for Italy.

Charles Uwagbale
Charles Uwagbale

According to Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Uwagbale had enlisted Uju Dominic, 35, to ingest the cocaine and transport it back to Italy within 48 hours.

Babafemi stated, “They were in the process when NDLEA operatives, who have been on their trail following credible intelligence, stormed their hotel room, arrested both and recovered the drug exhibits with a total weight of 1.427 kilograms.”

This arrest forms part of an intensive week of anti-narcotics operations conducted by the NDLEA.

On Thursday, 37.5kg of cannabis was seized in the Mushin area of Lagos.

Further, a bid to smuggle nearly five million pills of Tramadol, estimated to be worth about N3.7 billion, into Nigeria through Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, was foiled thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service and NDLEA officers.

Babafemi said, “Preliminary findings revealed that the consignments were imported from India and Pakistan, while some of the seized consignments had Freetown, Sierra Leone as the final destination.”

In Bauchi state, over six million pills of opioids were recovered from three suspects. Another 999,500 tablets of Exol-5 were confiscated in Adamawa state, along with 46,000 capsules of Tramadol in Imo state.

The suspect in the Imo state operation, Paul Ajaegbu, had previously been arrested in February 2023 for a similar offense.

In Ondo state, 29 hectares of cannabis farms were destroyed, and four individuals were arrested, with over a tonne of processed cannabis recovered.

In Edo state, two large cannabis farms were demolished, and nearly a tonne of the drug was confiscated.

Meanwhile, in Nasarawa, a vehicle loaded with over 1.6 tonnes of cannabis sativa was intercepted en route to Bauchi state.

Similar operations were conducted in Kano and Ogun states, with substantial amounts of cannabis seized.

The NDLEA also thwarted an attempt to smuggle Colorado, a synthetic variant of cannabis, into Nigeria through the Tincan port in Lagos.

Over 160kg of the illicit substance was discovered concealed in used vehicles shipped from Canada.

Impressed by the volume of arrests and seizures made across various states, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), praised the officers for their tireless efforts and encouraged continued collaboration with other security agencies in the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

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