The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Thursday said it had uncovered three new methamphetamine production factories in Lagos and Anambra states.
The agency, which expressed concern over the health and security implication of illegal methamphetamine production in the country, said it arrested a Columbian drug kingpin, Gonzelo Osorio, who specialised in methamphetamine production.
The NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos, said the increase in methamphetamine production and the involvement of Osorio were worrisome.
He added, “Our investigation has shown that the Colombian methamphetamine production expert, Gonzelo Osorio, aka Fabian Arcila and Baez Benitez Milan, was invited to establish three clandestine laboratories on a $38,000 weekly contract.
“This is sad and worrisome. It is a clarion call on stakeholders to pay priority attention to this dangerous twist in our nation’s drug trade.
“Narcotic investigators have arrested seven members of the criminal gang who are helping in further investigation. Apart from Osorio, there are Gabriel Onyebuchi Obi, Anthony Ebi, Olisa Cyprian Onyebuchukwu, Mickey Ezeokoli, Solomon Ogbonna and Chidi Alexandra Efeagwazi.
“Twelve vehicles belonging to the suspects have been confiscated. In addition, four houses have also been traced to the criminal group by the agency.”
The NDLEA boss explained that the operation that led to the arrest of the suspects started in November 2011 after Osorio was contracted by a Nigerian drug syndicate to establish three methamphetamine production laboratories in different parts of the country.
According to Giade, the operation is one of the best coordinated in terms of duration, expertise and professionalism.
He said the first clandestine laboratory Osorio established was situated at Majek area of Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State while another one was located in Nanka village in Nnewi area of Anambra State. He added that the gang was in the process of establishing the third laboratory when the members were apprehended by NDLEA officers.
Giade said, “Gonzelo-Osorio left the country in December 2011 and returned on May 30, 2012 with a false identity as a citizen of Paraguay with the name Baez Benitez Milan on his travel documents. He is regarded as the best methamphetamine production expert in the business and was hired on $38,000 dollars weekly by the drug cartel.”
He said there was a need for everybody to be involved in the war against illegal production of drugs, adding that the production of methamphetamine was both a syndicate and a one man affair as a suspect had earlier been apprehended in Lagos for using his residence for a solo production of the drug.
The NDLEA boss said, “The concerted efforts of stakeholders are required. The suspects involved in the criminal act are either ignorant of the lethal health consequences of their action or have simply been blinded by their selfish interests.”
NDLEA Uncovers Drug Factories In Lagos, Anambra