Three operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have sustained injuries following a clash between them and some armed individuals.
One of the NDLEA operatives is said to be requiring brain surgery.
The incident happened after suspected hoodlums tried to stop operatives of the agency from getting to a concealed drug warehouse deep within Opuje forest in Edo State’s Owan West Local Government Area.
According to a statement issued by the NDLEA on Thursday, their operatives managed to leave the area after a two-hour gun battle.
The statement revealed that the agency got credible intelligence leading its operatives to target the warehouse which contained psychoactive substances billed for distribution nationwide during the festive period.
The statement described the Opuje community as a hub for cannabis cultivation. It also highlighted the cartel’s extensive investments, which included deforestation and cultivation spanning hundreds of hectares.
The modus operandi of the cartels involves the construction of warehouses within the forest reserves and guarded by armed youths round-the-clock.
With this intelligence that the warehouses had been restocked for distribution during the festive season, the teams of the anti-drugs agency proceeded with operations to have them demolished.
Upon completion of demolishing warehouses in the Ujiogba forest, they encountered gunfire upon approaching the Opuje forest due to roads being blocked by armed hoodlums.
In reaction to the incident, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd.), condemned the attack.
He vowed to relentlessly pursue those against the agency’s personnel.
Gen Marwa also affirmed that the agency was committed and would ensure that the culprits are brought to justice. He further vowed to dismantle their criminal networks.