By Abiodun Sanusi
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has announced the arrest of one of two brothers, Onyeaghalachi Stephen, whom the anti-narcotics agency says serves as a major source of illicit drug supplies in the South-East and South-South regions of the country, after nine years of being on his trail.
The PUNCH reports that the Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), had asked the fleeing baron to turn himself in before the anti-narcotics agency smoked him out.
This was as he 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.
The agency in a statement by its Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr. Femi Babafemi, noted that Onyeaghalachi’s elder brother, Eze Stephen, who is also wanted, narrowly escaped during the overnight operation carried out simultaneously in their two locations in Umuahia and Ntigha Okpuola communities in Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Abia State.
He noted that during the raid, quantities of cocaine and variants of cannabis were recovered from the two houses while the agency had so far sealed two hotels, one eatery, and two mansions linked to them and recovered three exotic vehicles from their homes as efforts were ongoing to trace more of their bank accounts and properties.
The identified hotels include Jahlove Hotel, Mbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North LGA; Noicyhl Luxury Hotel, Aba -Port-Harcourt expressway, Aba and Royal Cruise Fast Food, Enugu- Port Harcourt expressway, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, all in Abia State.
Babafemi also revealed that investigations showed that the two notorious brothers began a career in the illicit drug business in 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.
He added that 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.
He said, “The NDLEA has been on their trail since 2013 when they organised a mob attack on some of the agency’s operatives who attempted to apprehend them during a raid. At least, one of the officers attacked then is still bedridden to 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.
“While the younger brother, Onyeaghalachi Stephen, who lives in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, 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 Monday, was also arrested.”
Source: PUNCH Newspapers