Cocaine trafficking: Two notorious drug kingpins sentenced to life imprisonment

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, said two notorious drug kingpins, Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian and Agbo Chidike Prince, have been sentenced to life imprisonment, bringing an end to their years of criminal enterprise of exporting cocaine across continents.

According to NDLEA, Uwaezuoke’s journey to lifetime jail began when he was first arrested on March 19, 2022, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, during the inward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after he was found to have ingested 100 big wraps of cocaine, weighing 2.243 kilograms.

The anti-narcotic agency said he was subsequently arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022, and was granted bail on certain conditions after he pleaded not guilty.

NDLEA said he thereafter absconded, leading the court to revoke his bail and issue an arrest warrant against him.

According to a statement by Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, on Sunday, Uwaezuoke was again rearrested by NDLEA operatives on 1st August 2023, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, while attempting to export 1.822 kilograms of cocaine to India through ingestion using a different passport and under a different name, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi.

Babafemi said Uwaezuoke was again arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, in charge number FHC/L/554C/2023, where he pleaded guilty to the two counts charge and was convicted and sentenced on 18th October 2023 to a total term of seven years of imprisonment or a fine of ₦1,500,000.00.

He paid the fine and was transferred to Abuja to face the importation case pending against him and was re-arraigned on 20th March 2024 at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022 before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik, where he pleaded guilty again.

According to the statement, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment despite his plea, noting his lack of remorse, the seriousness of drug-related offences, and the fact that he is a repeat offender by the court.

Babafemi said in the case of 42-year-old Agbo Chidike Prince, he was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja during the outward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Hong Kong on 21st October 2023 for ingesting 49 wraps of cocaine weighing 998.73grams.

Upon his arraignment before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the defendant pleaded guilty to the one-count charge, prompting the prosecution to present evidence and review the facts of the case.

Despite the plea of allocutus by the defendant’s counsel, the court, noting the nature of the case and the commercial quantity of the drug, emphasized the seriousness of drug-related offences, convicted and sentenced the defendant on April 15, 2024, to life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, NDLEA officers at the Gate C departure hall of the Lagos airport on Friday April 26 arrested a passenger, Yahaya Danjuma Oturah, while attempting to export 4,000 pills of tramadol 225mg to Malpensa, Italy on an Ethiopian Airline flight.

The psychoactive substance was found concealed in women’s wears and granulated melon packed in the suspect’s backpack and another bag containing food items. In his statement, Oturah who is a frequent flyer confessed he was hired to courier the drug for 700 Euros on successful delivery of the consignment in Italy.

In Bayelsa, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday 24th April arrested 28-year-old Jennifer Iliya at the Amarata area of Yenagoa for producing and distributing cakes laced with illicit drugs, especially cannabis sativa. At the time of her arrest, a substantial number of the drugged cakes weighing 1.5kg were recovered from her.

A 20-year-old hair stylist, Josephine Odunu and a dispatch rider, Edesemi Ikporo, 30, had been arrested on Sunday 10th March by NDLEA operatives in Yenagoa for a similar offence.

Two suspects: Joseph Dadik, 47, and Bensha Yari, 32, were arrested with 24,180 ampoules of pentazocine injection weighing 135.5 kilograms at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, while Adamu Umar, 18, was nabbed with 20.700kg cannabis when his house in Shuware area of Mubi, Adamawa state was raided on Friday 26th April.

No less than 310.7kg cannabis was recovered on Thursday 25th April when NDLEA operatives raided parts of Mushin in Lagos state. While 300kg was seized at Olatunji Street, Mushin, 10.7kg of the same substance was retrieved from two suspects: Tijani Wasiu and Suleiman Aisha at Anifowose, Mushin.

While Stanley Chukwudi, 43, was arrested with 5,900 ampoules of pentazocine injection at Sabon Gari area of Kano State on Thursday 25th April, a couple, Fredrick Odion, 53, and Gladys Odion, 52, were nabbed with 50kg cannabis at Iruekpen, Esan west LGA, Edo state by NDLEA officers on Wednesday 24th April.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men of the Directorate of Prosecution and Legal Services of the Agency for the diligent prosecution of Uwazuoke and Agbo cases.

He said the success rate of cases prosecuted by the agency has shown that there’s no escape route for those involved in the illicit trade of drug trafficking.

Marwa equally applauded those of MMIA, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Edo, Adamawa, and Bayelsa Commands as well as their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their drug supply and drug demand reduction activities

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