The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested one of two brothers who reportedly serve as major sources of illicit drug supplies in the southern parts of the country.
Spokesman for the agency, Femi Babafemi, said on Tuesday in Abuja that Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwagwugwu, was arrested by operatives after nine years of being on his trail.
According to him, the elder brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, who is also wanted, narrowly escaped during the overnight operation carried out simultaneously in the suspects’ two locations: Umuahia and Ntigha Okpuola community in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State.
“Investigations show the two notorious brothers began a career in the illicit drug business since the late 90s when they started as pocket dealers before they later established smoking joints/bunks in their community, Ntigha Okpuola and subsequently grew to become barons; owning hotels, houses in choice areas of Abia, Rivers and Imo states, with exotic cars in their homes.
“The NDLEA has been on their trail since 2013 when they organized a mob attack on some of the agency’s operatives who attempted to apprehend them during a raid. At least, one of the officers attacked then is still bedridden till date.
“The two drug lords equally own armed militia guarding their houses and drug stores, where they deal in assorted illicit substances like Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine (Mpuru-miri), Loud/Arizona and all sorts,” Babafemi said.
He also said that fresh bid to bring the duo to book and end their criminal trade was launched four months ago, leading to a simultaneous raid on their locations on Saturday.
Babafemi said that while the younger brother, Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwagwugwu, who lives in Umuahia, the Abia State capital was successfully arrested, the elder brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, narrowly escaped when his Ntigha Okpuola community home was stormed by operatives backed by men of the Nigerian Army. In the course of the operation, one of their militiamen, Eberechi Kingsley Monday, was also arrested.
During the raid, quantities of cocaine and variants of cannabis were recovered from the two houses while the agency has so far sealed two hotels, one eatery, two mansions linked to them and recovered three exotic vehicles from their homes as efforts are ongoing to trace more of their bank accounts and properties.
The identified hotels include: Jahlove Hotel, Mbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North LGA; Noicyhl Luxury Hotel, Aba -Port-Harcourt expressway, Aba and Royal Cruise Fast Food, Enugu- Port Harcourt expressway, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, all in Abia State.
Reacting to the development, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the officers and men of the agency involved in the operation as well as men of the military who provided support.
Marwa said it is in the interest of the fleeing baron to turn himself in before the agency smoke him out because there would be no hiding place for him.