Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Wednesday 22 February stormed the Ujiogba Forest Reserve in Esan West LGA, Edo State, and destroyed 7,286 kilograms (72.86 tons) of illicit substances stored in a wood-constructed warehouse.

The special operation followed credible intelligence that some cartels had warehoused hundreds of jumbo bags of the illicit substance inside the thick forest of the reserve for distribution to some states ahead of the general elections. 

The operation could however not go on immediately until after several roadblocks set up by armed guards of the drug lords were cleared and they were overpowered by the superior firepower of Strike Force officers of the Agency in a gun duel. After the initial resistance, two rifles spent cartridges of short guns and an empty shell of an AK47 rifle was recovered while a 24-year-old suspect, Calvary Essien, was arrested.

After the gunfight, the NDLEA operatives in their numbers successfully descended on a big warehouse constructed with wood and zinc containing: 100 jumbo bags of cannabis sativa weighing 3.2 tons; 5,000 bags of cannabis weighing 65 tons; and 137 bags of cannabis seeds weighing 4.66 tons, totaling 72.86 tons. Seven bags of cannabis and one bag of its seeds were subsequently taken out of the warehouse for further investigation and prosecution of suspects while the rest was set ablaze.

This is coming on the heels of a similar operation on Wednesday 18th January in the Opuje forest in Owan West Local Government Area of the state where massive warehouses and tents storing over 317,417 kilograms (317.4 metric tons) of the psychoactive substance were destroyed and set ablaze in a two-day operation.

At least, a police impersonator, Omoruan Theophilus, 37, who disguised as a Police Inspector to convey the drugs from the forests to the cities and three others: Aigberuan Jacob, 42; Ekeinde Anthony Zaza, 53, and Naomi Patience Ohiewere, 42, was apprehended in connection with the drugs.


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