By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja, – NDLEA has arrested one of two brothers who served as major sources of illicit drugs in the Southeast and South-South parts of the country, Onyeaghalachi Stephen.
This is contained in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi on Tuesday in Abuja.
Babafemi stated that NDLEA operatives arrested Stephen after nine years of manhunt, adding that his elder brother, Eze Stephen, who was also wanted, escaped narrowly.
He added that Stephen was arrested during an overnight operation executed simultaneously in the brothers’ two locations at Umuahia and at Ntigha Okpuola community in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia.
Babafemi stated that investigations showed the two brothers began careers in illicit drugs business since the late 1990s when they started as pocket dealers.
He added that the two brothers later established smoking joints and bunks in their community, Ntigha Okpuola.
They later became barons owning hotels and houses in choice areas of Abia, Rivers and Imo and acquiring exotic cars.
Babafemi stated also that the NDLEA had been on their trail since 2013 when they organised a mob attack on some of the agency’s operatives who attempted to apprehend them.
He added that one of the NDLEA officers attacked then was still bedridden, saying that the two drug lords equally have armed militia guarding their houses and drugs stores.
The NDLEA’s spokesman stated that the two brothers dealt in assorted illicit substances like cocaine, heroin, Methamphetamine (Mpuru-miri), “Loud/Arizona’’ grade of Indian hemp and assorted other hard drugs.
He stated also that a 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, Nov. 26.
“The younger brother, Onyeaghalachi Stephen, who lives in Umuahia, was successfully arrested.
“The elder brother, Eze 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, was also arrested,’’ Babafemi stated.
He added that during the raid, quantities of cocaine and variants of India hemp were recovered from their two homes.
Babafemi stated also that the NDLEA had so far sealed two hotels, one eatery, and two mansions linked to the brothers and recovered three exotic vehicles from their homes.
He stressed that efforts were on-going to trace their bank accounts and more of their property.
“The sealed hotels are Jahlove Hotel, Mbawsi, at Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area and Noicyhl Luxury Hotel, Aba-Port-Harcourt Expressway, Aba.
“The eatery sealed is Royal Cruise Fast Food located on Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia,’’ he stated.
Babafemi quoted NDLEA’s chairman, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa as commending officers and men of the agency involved in the operation as well as men of the military who supported them for their professionalism.
Marwa said it was in the interest of the fleeing baron to turn himself in before the agency smoked him out because there would be no hiding place for him. (NAN)