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NDLEA arrests wanted drug kingpin, brother on the run in Abia

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Seals hotels, mansions, bank accounts linked to kingpin, recovers exotic vehicles

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agenc

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have arrested Mr. Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwogwugwu,  one of two brothers who serve as major sources of illicit drug supplies in Southeast and South south zones of the country, after nine years on his trail.   

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The elder brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, who is also wanted, narrowly escaped during the overnight operation carried out simultaneously in their two locations: Umuahia and Ntigha Okpuola community in Isiala Ngwa North Local Council of Abia State.   

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NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said investigations showed that the two 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. 

Babafemi said the Agency has been on their trail since 2013, when they organised a mob attack on some of NDLEA operatives who attempted to apprehend them during a raid.   

According to him,  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. 

“Fresh bid to bring the duo to book and end their criminal trade was launched four months ago, leading to a simultaneous raid operation on their locations on Saturday, November 26, 2022. 

“While the younger brother, Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwogwugwu, 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 sativa 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 Local Council, Noicyhl Luxury Hotel, Aba –Port Harcourt expressway, Aba and Royal Cruise Fast Food, Enugu– Port Harcourt expressway, Isiala Ngwa North Local Council, all in Abia State,” Babafemi said.   

Reacting to the development, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the officers and men of the Agency involved in the operation as well as men of the military who supported them for their professionalism.

According to Marwa,  it is in the interest of the fleeing baron to turn himself in before the Agency smokes him out because there would be no hiding place for him.

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