NDLEA arrests ‘billionaire drug baron’ behind N3bn illicit drugs linked to DCP Kyari’s team

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it arrested
Afam Ukatu, chairman of Mallinson group of companies, over an alleged N3 billion tramadol deal linked to Abba Kyari, suspended deputy commissioner of police (DCP).

NDLEA, in a statement on Monday, said Ukatu was arrested on a flight to Abuja from Lagos airport on April 13.

“Billionaire drug baron behind the N3billion tramadol deal involving the embattled suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA,” the statement reads.

“After months of surveillance and evading arrest, Ukatu who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies was eventually nabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday 13th April.”

Femi Babafemi, spokesperson of the NDLEA, alleged that Utaku owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he uses as a cover up to import illicit drugs into the country.
The NDLEA spokesperson said Utaku has been under the watch of the agency since 2021 after undercover police officers from Kyari’s team seized five cartons of tramadol from one of his staff.
“Billionaire drug baron behind the N3 billion Tramadol deal involving the embattled suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA,” the statement reads.
“After months of surveillance and evading arrest, Ukatu who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies was eventually nabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday 13th April.
“Investigations reveal he’s been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.
“Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he 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.
“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 N18 million and N20 million  a carton in Lagos.
“After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyaris men were then led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos where 197 additional Cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3 billion.
“Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyaris IRT team transferred only 12 Cartons of the Tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.”
On February 14, the NDLEA declared Kyari wanted over alleged link to an international drug cartel.
The NDLEA alleged that Kyari is a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.
A few hours after the NDLEA declared Kyari wanted, the police arrested the suspended officer and four other officers and handed them over to the anti-drug agency.
Subsequently, NDLEA arraigned Kyari and four others over allegations of drug trafficking.
The officers were remanded at Kuje correctional centre.

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