One of two brothers who serve as major sources of illicit drug supplies in South East and South South parts of the country, Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwagwugwu, has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA after nine years of being on his trail. The elder brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, who is also wanted, narrowly escaped during the overnight operation carried out simultaneously in their two locations: Umuahia and Ntigha Okpuola community in Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Abia state.
Investigations show the two notorious brothers began a career in the illicit drug business since the late 90s when they started as pocket dealers before they later established smoking joints/bunks in their community, Ntigha Okpuola and subsequently grew to become barons; owning Hotels, Houses in choice areas of Abia, Rivers and Imo State, with exotic cars in their homes.
The NDLEA has been on their trail sine 2013 when they organized a mob attack on some of the Agency’s operatives who attempted to apprehend them during a raid. At least, one of the officers attacked then is still bedridden till date. The two drug lords equally own armed militia guarding their houses and drug stores, where they deal in assorted illicit substances like Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine (Mpuru-miri), Loud/Arizona and all sorts.
Fresh bid to bring the duo to book and end their criminal trade was launched four months ago, leading to a simultaneous raid operation on their locations on Saturday 26th November 2022. While the younger brother, Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwagwugwu, who lives in Umuahia, the Abia state capital was successfully arrested, the elder brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, narrowly escaped when his Ntigha Okpuola community home was stormed by operatives backed by men of the Nigerian Army. In the course of the operation, one of their militiamen, Eberechi Kingsley Monday was also arrested.
During the raid, quantities of cocaine and variants of cannabis were recovered from the two houses while the Agency has so far sealed two hotels, one eatery, two mansions linked to them and recovered three exotic vehicles from their homes as efforts are ongoing to trace more of their bank accounts and properties.
The identified hotels include: Jahlove Hotel, Mbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North LGA; Noicyhl Luxury Hotel, Aba -Port-Harcourt expressway, Aba and Royal Cruise Fast Food, Enugu- Port Harcourt expressway, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, all in Abia State.
Reacting to the development, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), CON, OFR, commended the officers and men of the Agency involved in the operation as well as men of the military who supported them for their professionalism. He said it is in the interest of the fleeing baron to turn himself in before the Agency smoke him out because there would be no hiding place for him.
- Femi Babafemi
Director, Media and Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Tuesday 29th November 2022