Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, the billionaire drug baron behind the N3 billion Tramadol transaction involving the embattled suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, has been detained by NDLEA operatives.
Ukatu, the Chairman of the Mallinson Group of Companies, was apprehended onboard a flight to Abuja on Wednesday 13th April at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja, after months of surveillance and escaping arrest.
He was a big importer of large consignments of various brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg, and 250mg, all of which are illegal, according to investigations. Ukatu owned pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing businesses that he exploited to smuggle illegal substances into Nigeria. In addition, he manages 103 bank accounts, the majority of which are used to launder money.
Last year, five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from Ukatu’s crew on the 4th of May 2021, when he dispatched them to sell to undercover police operatives (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigerian Police in Ikeja, Lagos. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17million per carton, compared to the black market value of N18million to N20million per carton in Lagos at the time.
Following the arrest of Ukatu’s personnel, Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyaris men were led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse in Ojota, Lagos, where the IRT Team seized 197 more Cartons of Tramadol 225mg. The 202 boxes of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day were worth over N3 billion.
Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyaris IRT team delivered only 12 cartons of Tramadol to the NDLEA’s Lagos Command, along with one truck and a suspect, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for. On the 13th of April 2022, anti-narcotic operatives of the Agency detained Ukatu at the Lagos airport after following the lead for over eight months. Kyari and four top members of his staff are already on trial in Abuja’s Federal High Court for a separate but related offense.
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