Officers of the Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency [NDLEA] have discovered a large quantity of harvested dried weeds of cannabis sativa in Ugbubezi forest, Owan West Local Government Area of the State.
Ofoyeju Mitchell, the Principal Staff Officer Public Affairs in NDLEA Edo State said in a statement that the drug exhibits were evacuated from the warehouse by a team of over seventy officers include thirty-four bags of compressed cannabis weighing 680kg and 94 bags of dried weeds weighing 1,316kg with a total weight of one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six kilogrammes [1,996kg].
Two suspected members of the drug cartel working at the warehouse were also apprehended. The estimated street value of the drug is twenty million naira [N20m].
According to the state commander Mr Wakawa Buba who described the seizure as a great way to start the year said that the warehouse was discovered based on intelligence report.
In his words,
“working on intelligence, we successfully traced a major cannabis warehouse located in Ugbubezi forest in Owan West Local Government Area.
Two suspected members of the drug cartel were also arrested and currently being interrogated”.
He added that dispossessing the cartel of drugs valued at N20m was a good takeoff for the year and a major boost for the 2018 operational year.
We are poised for a total offensive against drug trafficking cartels in the State. Meanwhile, the commander has equally spread his dragnet to apprehend other members of the cannabis cartel warning that there is no safe haven for drug trafficking in Edo State.
The suspects who claimed to be farmers in their statements blamed their involvement in drug trafficking on poverty. One of the suspects, Augustine Egwutu, 45 years old married with three children said that he used to cultivate plantain and pepper but wildfire engulfed his farm and he lost everything.
”I could not feed my family and my landlord threatened to evict me for not being able to pay my rent. This was the reason that made me go into cannabis business” Egwutu stated.
Gabriel Orji, 38 years old who cultivates cassava and plantain told investigators that he joined the cannabis business because he needed multiple sources of income. The suspects who hail from Delta State will soon be charged to court.
According to the NDLEA Act, the suspects risk a minimum of fifteen years imprisonment for unlawful possession of cannabis.