The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has discovered and closed down a methamphetamine laboratory, in Asaba Delta state.
The laboratory was a joint operation between Nigerians and Mexicans, and from where a drug trafficking organization operates around the country.
According to Mitchell Ofoyeju, NDLEA’s Head of Public Affairs, the laboratory bears similarity to those found in Mexico and is the first of such to be discovered in Nigeria.
The anti-drug trafficking official noted that the laboratory has a production capacity of between 3,000kg to 4,000kg of methamphetamine per production cycle.
“A significant feature of this laboratory is that the production process is more technical and sophisticated because it uses the synthesis method of methamphetamine production.”
“All the principal actors linked to this illicit act were apprehended in a simultaneous raid on members of the drug syndicate in Lagos, Obosi in Anambra State, and at the laboratory in Asaba, Delta state.”
Four Nigerians, who are suspected to be co-owners of the laboratory, were arrested alongside four Mexicans believed to be hired methamphetamine production experts.
Their names are: Chibi Aruh, William Ejike Agusi, Umolu Kosisochukwu and Umolu Ckukwemeka, Cervantos Madrid Jose Bruno, Rivas Ruiz Pastiano, Castillo Barraza Cristobal and Partida Gonzalez Pedro.
According to the NDLEA boss, the discovery was made through a ‘technical undercover operation’.
He stated that: “In a technical undercover operation, four Mexicans were arrested in active production exercise inside the super laboratory.”
“The cartel first brought two Mexican methamphetamine experts, Cervantos Madrid Jose Bruno and Rivas Ruiz Pastiano to Nigeria but because of the size of the laboratory coupled with the volume of work, two additional Mexicans, Castillo Barraza Cristobal and Partida Gonzalez Pedro were added.”
“Our investigations showed that a successful test production was done at the laboratory in February 2016.”
Items said to have been recovered during the operation include 1.5kg of finished methamphetamine and 750 liters of liquid methamphetamine, industrial pressure pots, gas cylinders, gas burners, facial masks and numerous chemicals, Toyota Tundra, a Mercedes Benz Jeep ML and a Toyota Corolla car.
Warning on the impact such organizations will have on Nigeria, the NDLEA stated that: “This is because the laboratory operates at an industrial scale with a high yield of 3,000kg to 4,000kgs of methamphetamine per production cycle.”
“Nigeria methamphetamine is now competing with others in Asia and South Africa markets. The super laboratory does not need ephedrine because it uses the synthesis method.”
“Drug cartels are now shifting from simple method of methamphetamine production to a more complex process.”
Noting that the laboratory had severe environmental consequence including the contamination of water table within 500 meters radius, he said that: “Even plants close to the dump were found to be dead.”
“The laboratory contains highly poisonous solvents and gases. Some are pyrophoric in nature capable of explosion; other chemicals are carcinogenic, capable of causing cancer while some are highly combustible and corrosive.”
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