Lagos - The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a suspected drug baron, Tochukwu Ubah, alleged to be coordinating a large volume of methamphetamine and ephedrine distribution in the country.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mitchell Ofoyeju, Head of Public Affairs at NDLEA, in Lagos on Sunday.
The statement said Ubah was arrested by the agency's Special Enforcement Team (SET) at the old local section of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos upon arrival from Enugu.
"He was apprehended after intense undercover operations in connection with illegal exportation of 576kgs of narcotics to Durban, South Africa through Apapa Port.
"The drug made up of 266kg of methamphetamine and 310kgs of ephedrine valued at N4.6 billion were hidden inside noodles, cereals and palm oil," it said.
According to the statement, preliminary investigations by the NDLEA revealed that the suspect is also known as Etochukwu Alaek Weubah and Eto Ubah.
It alleged that the 42-year-old had a company, Visoch Resources Limited, which he used as a cover for his clandestine drug business.
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The statement said: "Although the surveillance report indicates that he is a major player in drug smuggling, Ubah hides under the cover of floor tile business.
"Apart from the seized drugs, other items in the consignment include maize, vegetables, palm oil, malt drinks, seasoning, noodles and cereals.
The statement quoted the SET commander, Sunday Zirangey, as saying that Ubah's arrest took place simultaneously with the interception of the consignment of drugs to South Africa.
"He was immediately taken to the Port to witness the search operations.
"The methamphetamine was hidden inside packs of Golden Morn Cereals and Indomie Noodles while the ephedrine was concealed among gallons of palm oil,” Zirangey was quoted as saying.
The statement said that the Chairman of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, described the arrest as another milestone achievement in Nigeria’s fight against narcotics.
Giade was quoted as saying: “This operation has again validated the importance of intelligence gathering and management in drug control.
"The arrest of Tochukwu is a product of painstaking surveillance and another milestone success in the fight against drugs.
"This seizure is a confirmation that criminal investments will always go down the drain."
The statement said the suspect who hails from Abia state would soon be charged to court.