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War Against Drugs: NDLEA Officers in Crossfire With Thugs in Edo Hemp Forest

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Agents of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) were engaged in a crossfire against hoodlums during an operation at the notorious forest warehouses in Opujeu community, Owan West local government area, Edo state, where drugs intended to be sold during the forthcoming Yuletide period were stashed.

Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, explained in a statement on Thursday that the anti-narcotics operatives repelled a barrage of gunshots from armed criminals who had barricaded all roads in Puje community, Owan West local government area, Edo State, to prevent the NDLEA operatives from entering the infamous forest where tons of processed psychoactive substances were kept in preparation for their planned nationwide distribution ahead of the coming Christmas and New Year celebrations.

He pointed out that this came only 11 months after NDLEA personnel invaded the community on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, to destroy large warehouses and tents housing over 317,417 kilogrammes (317.4 metric tonnes) of cannabis sativa, only to be ambushed by armed teenagers recruited by drug kingpins.

He recalled that at least three individuals had been detained concerning the narcotics: Omoruan Theophilus, 37; Aigberuan Jacob, 42; Ekeinde Anthony Zaza, 53; and Naomi Patience Ohiewere, 42.

According to the spokesman, the Opuje community is notorious for its extensive cannabis cultivation, where cartels have invested enormous amounts of money, cutting down economic trees within the forest reserves and cultivating hundreds of hectares of cannabis. After the harvest is harvested, the cartels construct warehouses inside the forest reserves, hiring armed youths to keep a constant guard over the warehouse.

He said that accurate findings revealed that the drug cartels had restocked their warehouses in the forest in preparation for the upcoming Yuletide season. As a result, teams of NDLEA officers were dispatched into the forest to destroy the cartels’ warehouses and prevent the drug from being distributed. Some warehouses harbouring an excess of 6,000 kilogrammes of cannabis were demolished in Ujiogba Forest in Esan West LGA last weekend.

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