By IFEOMA IKEM
The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has uncovered another secret methamphetamine laboratory in Asaba, Delta State.
This was revealed by the Chairman of the agency, Col. Muhammad Abdallah(RTD) during a press briefing held at the agency’s National Headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Speaking further, Abdallah said this unprecedented feat of the discovery of a super laboratory for the illicit production of methamphetamine is part of the latest efforts the Nigeria government has dislodged against drug trafficking organisations in the country.
The laboratory, according to the NDLEA helmsman, is located in Asaba, Delta State. It was detected by the eagle eyed Special Enforcement Team (SET) of the agency, stressing that this is the first super laboratory to be discovered in the country. He also informed that the laboratory is similar to the ones found in Mexico in terms of size and that it has a capacity of between 3,000kg to 4,000kg of methamphetamine per production cycle.
Another significant feature of this laboratory, according to Abdallah, is that the production process is more technical and sophisticated because it uses the synthesis method of methamphetamine production.
He informed that the agency has employed intensive surveillance and advanced operational techniques to raid members of the drug syndicate in Lagos, Obosi in Anambra State and at the laboratory in Asaba in Delta State.
This meticulous operation on the cartel by the agency soon yielded positive result as it led to the discovery of a large warehouse in an industrial area along Ibuzor Road in Asaba Delta State.
In the course of the raids, four Nigerians and four Mexicans suspected to be owners of the laboratory were arrested. He gave the names of those arrested as Chief Chibi Aruh, William Ejike Agusi, Umolu Kosisochukwu and Umolu Chukwemeka .
Others are Cervatos Madrid Jose Bruno, Rivas Ruiz Pastiano, Castillo Barraza Cristobal and Partida Gonzalez Pedro.
He said investigation revealed that a successful test production had been carried out at the laboratory in February 2016, and that it was as the second production cycle was ongoing that his men swooped on the laboratory.
Items recovered include 1.5kg of finished methamphetamine, 750 liters of liquid methamphetamine, Industrial pressure pots,gas cylinders, gas burners, facial masks and numerous chemicals. Also recovered are a Toyota Tundra, Mercedes Benz Jeep ML and a Toyota Corolla car.
Expressing worry at what appears to be an increase in super laboratories in the country, which, he noted, will put Nigeria on the global spotlight in methamphetamine production, Abdallah warned that local production of this deadly product will have adverse implication because with the readily availability of the substance, it ,will increase the rate of abuse and the citizens will be targeted by drug cartels, searching for drug mules to smuggle the drugs out of the country.
“Methamphetamine laboratory pose a serious threat to humanity because of the toxic nature which pollutes the environment because every pound of methamphetamine produced, about three to six pounds of toxic is created,” he said.
He noted that plants close to the dump were found dead and that water table within 500 meters radius from the laboratory could be contaminated because the laboratory contains pyrophoric reagents capable of explosion and chemicals like carcinogenic capable of causing cancers .
Highly poisonous solvents and gases, which are highly combustible and corrosive, capable of irritating or causing damage to the respiratory system and even human skin, were found at the laboratory.
Methamphetamine, a derivative of amphetamine, is used illegally as drugs. An Amphetamine is any of a group of powerful stimulant drugs that act on the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) increasing heart rate and blood pressure, while reducing fatigue