By Monday Osayande
The Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has impounded six vehicles containing 1,687kg kilogrammes of dried weeds that tested positive for Cannabis sativa.
Both the vehicles and the drugs valued at N30m.
Addressing Journalists in Benin City on Tuesday, the State Commander, Buba Wakama said, “This is the first time that six vehicles will be impounded in a single swift action by the command”.
Wakama stated that preliminary investigation shown that the cartel targeted the emergency created by the Coronavirus epidemic for a massive shipment of drugs but the command swiftly nipped their nefarious plan in the bud.
He explained that the estimated street value of the seized drugs is 25 million naira while that of the vehicles is 10 million Naira.
“The operation which was carried out by the Auchi Area Command based on intelligence report took place at Agenebode in Etsako East Local Government Area of the State. It is one of the most successful operations executed by the State command since January 2020. All six vehicles had a full shipment of Cannabis set for distribution to other States of the nation” Buba stated.
“Edo State is notorious for the cultivation of Cannabis; therefore as drug control managers we have adopted both primary and secondary strategies to check this criminal act. We do this by tracing and destroying cannabis farms as well as intercepting harvested and processed Cannabis before it gets to the final consumers” the commander added.
He revealed that Section 32 sub-section (C) of the NDLEA Act on asset forfeiture states that “all instrumentality of conveyance, including aircraft, vehicles, or vessels which are used or are intended for use, to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, sale, receipt, possession or concealment of substances described in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section shall be forfeited. Besides conviction, the law also recognizes the seizure of drugs and forfeiture of assets as forms of punishment aimed at incapacitating drug trafficking syndicates financially.
“Six vehicles seized from the well organized inter-State cannabis smuggling cartel include a Toyota Sienna Bus with registration number AA 826 MKR Katsina. It contained 40 bags of Cannabis weighing 440Kg. Another Toyota Sienna Bus with registration number MAN 614 AA Kaduna had 41 bags of Cannabis with a weight of 451kgs and a 2008 red Toyota Camry with registration number RSH 441 AG Abuja containing 20 bags of Cannabis weighing 220kgs.
” A 1999 white Toyota Camry with registration number SMK 476 BH, Lagos had 14 bags of Cannabis weighing 140Kgs. An ash colour BMW with registration number CV 40 RBC with 20 bags of Cannabis weighing 200Kgs and an ash colour Honda car with registration number KMC 236 AM loaded with 236 compressed blocks of Cannabis weighing 236Kgs.
The drivers of the vehicles managed to escape leaving behind their vehicles and merchandise of death. Meanwhile, intensive efforts by the command are ongoing to apprehend members of the cartel and bring them to book, the commander assured.
Buba said that this feat was achieved despite the challenge of lack of operational vehicles; he therefore appealed to the State Governor Mr Godwin Obaseki to assist the Command with utility vehicles in other to broaden their scope of operations.