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NDLEA nabs wanted drug kingpin Joachin Mbonu in Imo (photos)



Joachin Mbonu, a drug baron who was listed as wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, has been taken into custody.

On July 5, Mbonu was taken into custody by NDLEA agents at his Imo state village residence.

The agency’s spokeswoman, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement on Tuesday that Mbonu and his associate had been taken into custody.

He stated that Mbonu belongs to a drug cartel behind the production of methamphetamine.

Babafemi said, “ A major drug cartel behind the production and distribution of deadly psychoactive substance, methamphetamine, popularly called ‘mkpuru mmiri’ has been taken down by operatives of the NDLEA following the arrest of the leader of the syndicate, 42-year-old Joachin Chikaodi Mbonu and his associate in his mansion tucked in his Umuomi village, Uzogba-Ezenomi autonomous community, Ikeduru local government area of Imo State.”

The cartel with operational bases in Imo and Rivers state became a target of the Agency following intelligence indicating it is responsible for the distribution of substantial quantities of methamphetamine in the South East, South South and other parts of the country.

During the operation, Babafemi said operatives recovered 419.99 grams of methamphetamine, 750 grams of iodine, and a pump action gun with four cartridges among others.

He said, “After weeks of surveillance, officers of a special operations unit of the Agency on Friday 5th July 2024, tracked and traced the drug lord to his village mansion in Imo state where he was caught with a member of his cartel, Kenneth Chibuike Ofoegbu, 34, with different quantities of methamphetamine, its precursor chemicals, a pump action gun and cartridges recovered.

“Exhibits recovered from the house include 419.99 grams of methamphetamine; 750 grams of iodine, a precursor chemical for meth; 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate, a precursor chemical for meth; two electronic weighing scales and a pump action gun with four cartridges.”

Babafemi added that the operatives also raided residences of Mbonu’s associates in Rivers and Imo States, recovering several illicit drugs.

The operatives moved swiftly to another of Mbonu’s hideouts located at 11 Redemption Avenue, Port Harcourt, Rivers state where they recovered additional exhibits: 750 grams of processed sodium bicarbonate; 170 grams of plain sodium bicarbonate and 75 grams of meth.

“Another raid in the home of one of Mbonu’s associates, Odoemenam Pedro Chinedu, currently at large, at Njaba LGA, Imo state, led to the recovery of another pump action gun with 25 cartridges, among other items. While the kingpin cools his heels in custody, two of his mansions in Imo state have been marked for possible forfeiture to the federal government”, he added.

Babafemi stated that Mbonu had escaped from South Africa where he lived for years and mastered the art of cooking methamphetamine after he came under investigation for drug dealings.

He added that upon his return to Nigeria, he continued the criminal trade by setting up clandestine laboratories in remote villages to shield his nefarious activities.

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