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NDLEA arrests billionaire ‘drug baron’ implicated in Kyari’s N3bn tramadol deal



The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday reported the arrest of a Nigerian “billionaire drug baron”.

The suspect is Mallinson Group Chairman Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu.

Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA Media Director, made this disclosure in a statement noting that Ukatu was involved in a N3 billion Tramadol deal involving the suspended Abba Kyari.

The IGP’s Intelligence Response Team was led by Kyari, a suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (IRT).

After months of surveillance and escaping arrest, Ukatu was apprehended at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport in Ikeja.

NDLEA claimed Ukatu is a significant importer of big consignments of Tramadol Hydrochloride in various brands and high dosages, including 120mg, 200mg, 225mg, and 250mg.

Read also: NDLEA intercepts cocaine in teabags, heroin, arrests four suspects

Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he allegedly used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.

“This is in addition to operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money”, Babafemi said.

Babafemi explained that Ukatu was placed under surveillance in 2021, a year after his crew was seized with five cartons of Tramadol 225mg on May 4, 2021.

He’d sent them to Lagos to sell to undercover cops (unknown to Ukatu) from the then-Kyari-led IRT.

The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17 million each, compared to the black market value of N18 million to N20million for each carton at the time.

Following the arrest of Ukatu’s employees, Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s men were led to Mallinson’s warehouse in Ojota, Lagos, where the IRT confiscated 197 more cartons of Tramadol 225mg.

The 202 boxes of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day were worth over N3 billion.

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