By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have confirmed the arrest of four members of a drug syndicate, including two church officials; a female staff of a courier company and another lady, involved in trafficking the lethal opioid, fentanyl in Delta State.
Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, confirmed the development on Sunday, 9 July, 2023 in a statement issued in Abuja.
According to Babafemi, the bust of the fentanyl cartel operating from Warri, Delta State is coming barely a month after two members of another syndicate: Odoh Collins Oguejiofor and Oliver Chigozie Uzoma were arrested at Ogbogwu market, Onitsha Head Bridge, Onitsha South LGA, Anambra State.
The NDLEA image-maker said their arrests follow months of intelligence-led investigation of the syndicates behind the dangerous drug, which is 100 times more potent than heroin and currently responsible for over 70 per cent of overdose deaths as well as a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States.
“Two officials of Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministries (aka Mercy City Church), Warri, Delta State: Adewale Abayomi Ayeni, 39, and Ebipakebina Appeal, 41, linked to two intercepted consignments of the illicit drug have been arrested in Warri. While Ayeni is one of those managing the prayer call centre of the church, Ebipakebina is in charge of the movement of international guests from the airport to the church.
“Two female accomplices also arrested in Warri in the course of investigating the intercepted shipments include Naomi David, 28, who is a staff of United Parcel Services (UPS), and Stacy Njideka, also known as Nkiruka, 27, who is a business associate of Ayeni,” Babafemi said.