Friday, July 22, 2011

Africa’s biggest illegal drug factory found in Lagos           

What looks like Africa's biggest illegal drug factory has been discovered in Lagos by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

At full capacity, the company produces between 20 and 50 kilogrammes of Methamphetamine per cycle at its site in Iba, a suburb on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mitchell Ofoyeju, told journalists that the firm operated in a three-bedroom bungalow, a large production centre similar to the ones in Mexico.

Ofoyeju said efforts are being made to ascertain the company's links with illegal international drug networks.

NDLEA Chairman Ahmadu Giade pledged the readiness of the agency to address the new twists and turns in the criminal trade.

The factory has been sealed off.

Giade said: "Another landmark success has been achieved with the recent detection of a clandestine laboratory in Lagos for the production of Methamphetamine. 

"This discovery is the first of its type in West Africa and Nigeria will continue to work hard to address the challenges posed by new twists and  turns in the production of narcotics in the sub-region.

"We have commenced painstaking investigation into the case with a number of suspects, including the kingpin, in our custody. The suspects are Bernard Umezurike, 44, the alleged owner of the illegal production centre, and Polycarp Ndilobi, 41, who was working at the clandestine laboratory."

Giade disclosed that forensic experts from the United States have commenced the safe dismantling of the laboratory and evacuation of materials, adding that several seizures of Methamphetamine meant for export had indicated a possible local production centre.

This led to intensive surveillance to trace the source of the drug that is manufactured from precursor chemicals. 

Methamphetamine is a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is usually taken orally or intra-nasally by snorting the powder, by needle injection, or by smoking.

It is a strong stimulant that affects the central nervous system. 

A derivative of Amphetamine, it is highly addictive.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems also known as "meth mouth," anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behaviours. 

Other psychotic features include paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions such as the sensation of insects crawling under the skin.

Some of the street names of methamphetamine are "speed," "meth," "chalk," "ice," "crystal," and "glass." 

There are few known cases of abuse of methamphetamine in Nigeria. Most seizures so far made were meant for export.


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