National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has recorded another major Cannabis haul in its Operation Thunder Strike IV, launched to rid the forests in Ondo and Edo States of Cannabis warehouses. The Agency yesterday intercepted and burnt down 181.2 tons of the illicit drug crop concealed in warehouses in Ala Forest in Akure North of Ondo State.
Yesterday’s haul was made from three different warehouses spread across the Forest. A total of 12, 078bags of the illicit drug crop were discovered in the three warehouses out of which 16 bags weighing 240 kilograms were brought to the office for prosecution. In addition, 730 sacks of Cannabis seeds weighing 21.9 tons were recovered and destroyed by burning. The Agency also recovered two single barrel guns and expended cartridges.
In an end-of-the-year clean-up of drug malfeasance in the areas bordering Ondo and Edo States, the Agency has embarked on “Operation Thunder-strike IV,” a week-long combing of the forests in the areas notorious for cannabis crop cultivation.
The intelligence-driven counter-narcotic campaign has led to the seizure of several tons of Cannabis already harvested and heaped for onward movement to the illicit drug markets. Not fewer than 14.3 tons of the illicit drug crop were recovered from six camps raided by the operatives.
Uzebba and Ukpoji-Ihkin, two communities, Owan West LGA in Edo State, bordering Ondo State which is notorious for the cultivation of Cannabis were the first to receive the beam light of the well-studded operatives. One Ohimai Ayodele, ‘M’ 51-year-old titleholder in Uzebba, a notable cannabis merchant suspected to be the mastermind of the killing of NDLEA personnel earlier in the year was apprehended during the operation. In an attempt to resist arrest, his gang opened fire, injuring some of the operatives.
A reinforcement of NDLEA and Army personnel stormed Ivbiodeohen forest in Uzebba where five different warehouses were raided with at least two tons of cannabis destroyed. One Ojeagbese Asabiya, ‘M’ 66 years was arrested in a disserted locality where several Cannabis nursery and transplant farms were discovered and destroyed. Eight locally fabricated guns and several rounds of ammunition were recovered from the spots. Six locally fabricated Cannabis compressing machines were also recovered from the Camp.
At Uteh, near Ifon in Ondo State, the operation lasted twenty hours as the operatives invaded and ransacked the Ajobieye forest, Owo Local Government Area leading to the destruction by burning of 1, 225 bags of Cannabis sativa, weighing 12. 3 tons. A total of 174.5 kilograms and a sample of fresh plants were brought to the office for prosecution purposes.