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How NDLEA bursted drug cartel in Imo, arresteded suspects

Mbonu | Image: NDLEA

Mbonu belonged to a drug cartel behind the production and distribution of methamphetamine (Mkpuru mmiri) in many parts of Nigeria

By John Ike

The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a drug suspect, Mr. Joachin Mbonu, in his mansion at Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

The 42-year-old Mbonu was arrested along his friend and accomplice, Kenneth Chibuike Ofoegbu, 34, with different quantities of methamphetamine, its precursor chemicals, a pump action gun and cartridges recovered on July 5, 2024.

The agency’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday that Mbonu belonged to a drug cartel behind the production and distribution of methamphetamine (Mkpuru mmiri) in many parts of Nigeria.

He also disclosed that Mbonu, whom he said had been in the agency’s wanted list, fled South Africa, where he specialized in the illegal business.

Also read:NDLEA arrests 288 suspects, seizes 2.7 tons of illicit drugs in Bauchi

Babafemi stated: “A major drug cartel behind the production and distribution of deadly psychoactive substance, methamphetamine, popularly called ‘Mkpuru mmiri’ has been taken down by operatives of the NDLEA following the arrest of the leader of the syndicate, 42-year-old Joachin Chikaodi Mbonu, and his associate in his mansion tucked in his Umuomi village, Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.”

He said that the cartel, with operational bases in Imo and Rivers states, became a target of the agency following intelligence indicating it was responsible for the distribution of substantial quantities of methamphetamine in the South-East, South-South and other parts of the country.

During the operation, Babafemi said, operatives recovered 419.99 grams of methamphetamine, 750 grams of iodine, and a pump action gun with four cartridges, among others.

He said, “After weeks of surveillance, officers of a Special Operations Unit of the agency on Friday, July 5, 2024, tracked and traced the drug lord to his village mansion in Imo State, where he was caught with a member of his cartel, Kenneth Chibuike Ofoegbu, 34, with different quantities of methamphetamine, its precursor chemicals, a pump action gun and cartridges recovered.

“Exhibits recovered from the house include 419.99 grams of methamphetamine; 750 grams of iodine, a precursor chemical for meth; 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate, a precursor chemical for meth; two electronic weighing scales and a pump action gun with four cartridges.”

Babafemi said the operatives also raided residences of Mbonu’s associates in Rivers and Imo states, recovering several illicit drugs.

He said, “The operatives moved swiftly to another of Mbonu’s hideouts located at 11 Redemption Avenue, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where they recovered additional exhibits: 750 grams of processed sodium bicarbonate; 170 grams of plain sodium bicarbonate and 75 grams of meth.

“Another raid in the home of one of Mbonu’s associates, Odoemenam Pedro Chinedu, currently at large, at Njaba LGA, Imo State, led to the recovery of another pump action gun with 25 cartridges, among 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.”

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