Two suspected syndicate members involved in the illegal importation and trafficking of the lethal synthetic opioid Fentanyl have been apprehended in well-coordinated and clinical operations in Anambra State.
The suspects, Odoh Collins Oguejiofor and Oliver Chigozie Uzoma were arrested at Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, Onitsha South LGA, Anambra State.
The feat was a result of an alert issued on Tuesday, 22nd November 2022, that some criminal elements were plotting to flood the Nigerian market with the drug, which is currently responsible for over 70% of overdose deaths as well as a significant contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States.
According to the CDC in the US, Fentanyl is 80 times as potent as morphine and 100 times more potent than heroin.
Following credible intelligence and synergy with local and international partners, the NDLEA was able to mobilise necessary assets to trace the illicitly manufactured drug to the Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, reputed to be the largest drug market in West Africa, after months of undercover monitoring, the Agency’s Spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, said.
“Convinced that the Agency has gathered sufficient evidence to nail the suspects, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), ordered a deployment of operatives to pick members of the syndicate one after the other. Odoh Collins Oguejiofor was the first to be arrested while on a business mission with packets of 100 micrograms of Fentanyl. In contrast, the arrest of Uzoma, a significant dealer in other illicitly manufactured pharmaceutical opioids- including Fentanyl, followed.
“While packs of liquid Fentanyl were recovered from Odoh, different quantities of banned and controlled drugs, including Fentanyl, were seized from Uzoma. They include Ampules of Fentanyl Injection, Ozempic solution for injection in pre-filled pens, Ampules of Sustanon 250mg/ml, Ampules of Rivavirin injection 200mg/2ml, Ampules of Erythropoietin injection, Ampules of Recombinant Anti Rho-D Immunoglobulin injection 300MG, Ampules of Pethidine 100mg/2ml solution for injection and Zoladex 3.6mg Goserelin.”
NDLEA Boss commended all Officers and men of the Agency involved in the operation while directing them to intensify the crackdown on other cartel members who may have gone underground.
“We’ll no doubt hunt down every member of this criminal gang before they do further harm to our public health, especially our youth population. In the meantime, I’ll like to thank our international partners for their huge confidence in us and their support and partnership for the benefit of humanity. In the same vein, I’ll urge parents and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting experimenting with this illicit substance”, Marwa stated.
The Agency restates that exposure to this lethal opioid may result in pinpoint pupils, falling asleep or losing consciousness, slow and shallow breathing, choking or gurgling sounds, limp body, and pale, blue, or cold skin.