James Sowole in Akure
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested the suspected killers of four officers of Ondo State Command, who were killed at a checkpoint in Ifon area of Ose Local Government Area of the state in February 2019.
The suspect, Ohimai Ayodele, according to the NDLEA Commander for Ondo State, Mr. Haruna Gagara, was arrested during intelligence-driven Operation Thunder Strike IV carried out by a combination of officers drawn from different units across all commands of the agency in the country.
Gagara, however, disclosed yesterday at the command’s headquarters, Alagbaka in Akure that six officers of the agency sustained injuries during the operation that led to the arrest of the suspect.
The commander disclosed that a 51-year-old suspect was arrested at Uzebba, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, after his men were able to overpower a gang of suspected drug baron which engaged the agency’s personnel in a gun duel.
After raiding Uzebba and Ihkin villages in the same local government, the team moved further into Ivbiodeohen forest where no fewer than five warehouses filled with cannabis sativa were discovered.
He said: “Uzebba and Ihkin, two communities in Owan West Local Government, Edo State, bordering Ondo State which are notorious for the cultivation of cannabis sativa were the first place to be visited by the team.
“One Ohimai Ayodele, ‘M’ 51-year-old title holder 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 our operatives.
“After reinforcement, we carried the campaign further to 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 deserted locality where several cannabis nursery and transplant farms were discovered and destroyed.”
The commandant added that eight locally made gun, several live cartridges, six locally fabricated cannabis compressing machines were recovered from the two communities in Edo State.
The commandant said in another 20-hour operation, the team invaded Ajobieye forest at Uteh, near Ifon in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State and discovered 1, 225 bags of cannabis sativa, weighing 12,250kg and set it ablaze.
The NDLEA boss noted that the operations carried by the team would affect supply of the illicit drug during the yuletide because “about 80 per cent of cannabis markets across the country obtain their cannabis supply from the states touched by this operation.”
He assured that the agency would sustain the tempo, saying the agency was still awaiting drug merchants on the road to intercept cannabis smuggled into the market.