Court arraigns four Mexicans, five Nigerians for operating methamphetamine laboratory in Asaba
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has brought four Mexicans and five Nigerians before a Federal High Court, Asaba to be arraigned for allegedly operating a super laboratory for the illicit production of methamphetamine.
The accused persons yesterday appeared before Justice A.O. Faji at the Federal High Court, Asaba on a five count charge of conspiracy to form and operate a Drug Trafficking Organisation (DTO) to process and export methamphetamine.
They were also accused of illegal extraction of ephedrine, preparation of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of 1.5kg of methamphetamine; a drug similar to cocaine, heroin, LSD contrary to NDLEA Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The accused could not take their plea because the four Mexicans claimed not to understand English language and the defence counsel, Barrister Benson Ndakara objected to the use of an interpreter produced by the NDLEA on the grounds of bias.
NDLEA counsel, Barrister Lambert Nor told the court that the objection was a ploy to delay the trial and prayed the court to give the defence one week to produce any interpreter of their choice. In response, Barrister Ndakara said that they cannot produce an interpreter but will accept another interpreter apart from the one in question.
Justice Faji then remanded the accused in prison custody and adjourned the case to May 13, 2016 for NDLEA to produce another interpreter.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapher Abdallah (rtd.) has ordered the directorate of prosecution to diligently pursue the case to a logical conclusion.
It will be recalled that the NDLEA discovered a super laboratory for the illicit production of methamphetamine located at Asaba, Delta State. This super methamphetamine laboratory similar to the ones found in Mexico is the first to be discovered in the country. The laboratory has a capacity of producing between 3,000kg to 4,000kg of methamphetamine per production cycle. A significant feature of this laboratory is that the production process is more technical and sophisticated because it uses the synthesis method of methamphetamine production.
All the principal actors linked to this illicit act were apprehended in a simultaneous raid on members of the drug syndicate in Lagos, Obosi in Anambra state and at the laboratory in Asaba, Delta state.
Those arrested include four Nigerians believed to be joint owners of the laboratory and four Mexicans who are methamphetamine production experts hired as technical partners into the country.
The NDLEA boss gave the names of the suspects as Chief Chibi Aruh, William Ejike Agusi, Umolu Kosisochukwu and Umolu Ckukwemeka. Others are Cervantos Madrid Jose Bruno, Rivas Ruiz Pastiano, Castillo Barraza Cristobal and Partida Gonzalez Pedro.
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