The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Ahmadu Giade has announced the arrest of three Bolivians and a Nigerian in connection with a clandestine laboratory for the illicit production of Methamphetamine at satellite town, Lagos. The Agency warned that it will not treat the development with kid gloves as it threatens public health and safety.
Speaking on the development, Giade said that the laboratory was detected by operatives attached to the Lagos State Command. Items recovered at the production area include 41.150kg of ephedrine, 4.8kg of methamphetamine, other chemicals and sundry gadgets used in the laboratory. Three vehicles, a Honda Accord Saloon car, a Honda CRV Jeep and a Toyota 4 Runner Jeep were also impounded.
Apprehended in connection with the laboratory include three Bolivians Yerko Artunduaga Dorado, 19 years old; Ruben Ticona Jorge, 21 years old; and Hugo Chavez Moreno, 39 years old. The fourth suspect is a 23-year-old Nigerian, Uba Ubachukwu Collins. However, Solomon Azuka Uzoka and Basil Ikechukwu Uzoka are wanted for questioning by the anti-drug Agency.
Giade stressed that Clandestine Laboratories constitute a serious threat to societal peace and security. In his words, “It is important to stress that such buildings are not safe for habitation. A house used for the illicit production of methamphetamine is simply a death trap. Tenants moving into new buildings are hereby advised to carry out discreet investigations on the previous occupants”.
He also stated that the ugly development has led to the recruitment of youths in smuggling the drugs across the borders. “Besides the environmental pollution, gullible and unemployed youths are being used to smuggle these drugs to countries with high demand. Several methamphetamine traffickers have been caught at the airports and land borders”.
While condemning the existence of clandestine laboratories in the country, the Agency urged Members of the public to watch out for various clues to identify a clandestine laboratory. It would be recalled that the NDLEA discovered the first Clandestine Laboratory in the country in 2011. The accused persons have been charged to court and the case is on-going.
Some of the tips include chemical smells coming from a building, skin irritation and coloured waters in gutters. Clandestine Laboratories have no sign posts. Unlike normal laboratories that are opened to the general public with known members of staff, clandestine laboratories operate covertly.
Most chemicals found in such laboratories are flammable, corrosive and toxic. Unprotected exposure to such chemicals could cause headaches, watery or burning eyes, burning skin, coughing or choking feeling, weakness and dizziness. Investigation into the case has commenced.
Methamphetamine is a powerful addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system. It is produced using precursor chemicals. Findings show that there may be insignificant local abuse as it is mainly meant for export.
Head, Public Affairs