The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have picked up the Chairman of Mallinson Group, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, over alleged dealings in hard drugs.
The disclosure was made in a statement issued on Monday by NDLEA Media Director, Femi Babafemi.
The billionaire drug baron who was arrested at MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport in Ikeja is suspected to be behind the N 3 billion Tramadol deal involving suspended police chief, Abba Kyari.
Babafemi said investigations revealed that the suspect is a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride adding that the suspect also operates 103 bank accounts , most of which are used to launder money .
According to him, the Tramadol ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg are illicit. He added that Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria
The statement partly read : “Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on 4th May 2021 when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18million and N20million a carton in Lagos.
Meanwhile, after the arrest of Ukatu’s staff, Pius Enidom, and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s men were led to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos where 197 additional cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT.
The Kyari’s IRT team subsequently transferred only 12 cartons of the Tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unreported.
Ukatu was nabbed after eight months of investigations and surveillance on April 13, 2022 .
Kyari and four of his associates are currently facing trial for a different but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.