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NDLEA targets drug barons in fresh offensive


WITH the arrest of a suspected drug baron, Chief Odugwe Azubuike, the Chief Executive of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade, says the fight against the menace will now be taken to the doorsteps of the kingpins.

He said the stage is set for the arraignment of the suspect tomorrow at the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos.

Giade, who described the arrest of Azubuike as “phenomenal,” said it was another milestone in the agency’s determination to expose drug barons that use traffickers as shield to avoid being caught.

He explained that the investigation was cumbersome but the success was unprecedented, adding that the NDLEA was working on several cases.

“This successful follow-up operation speaks volumes of our determination to go beyond the traffickers. When we arrest a trafficker we have made just one arrest but with a drug baron we have made multiple arrests because of the army of potential couriers at their disposal. Other covert investigations are ongoing and at the appropriate time, more drug barons shall be exposed.”

He said the process leading to the arrest of drug barons is usually cumbersome and assured that the agency would not play to the gallery.

“Narcotic investigation takes time and material resources. The fact that a man is living a flamboyant and ostentatious lifestyle is not enough. We need to place such under surveillance and this could take several months and in some cases years. As soon as investigation uncovers sufficient evidence, we immediately arrest and arraign,” Giade said.

Azubuike, who hails from Anambra State will face a three-count charge of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and unlawful importation of heroin into the country.

Giade said the trial, which starts today signifies another giant stride in the country’s drug control efforts.

The arrest of Odugwe was as a result of follow-up operation on one Olehi Josephine Otuochinma held with 3.150kg of heroin at the Lagos airport on December 29, 2009 at about 1345 hours on arrival from Dubai aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight.

The mother of three children allegedly packed the brownish powdery substance that tested positive to heroin in a transparent polythene inside a white duty free polythene bag, which

also contained a small body towel, chocolates, biscuits and a few cosmetics for personal use.

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