BARELY two weeks after operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, Delta State Command, arrested four suspected ritualists and 50 others, no fewer than 135 Indian hemp peddlers in Obiaruku, Kwale, were arrested on Monday.
NDLEA operatives also impounded 160 bags of Indian hemp.
The state commander of the agency, Mr. Frank Hannachor, confirmed that operatives of the NDLEA acted on a tip-off in Obiaruku and Kwale communities where Indian hemp smoking and cultivation had become a tradition for the past three years.
Hannachor explained that the suspects were handed over to the police for prosecution.
Noting that peddling and use of hard drugs were against the law, the NDLEA boss disclosed that the state command in the past six months had arrested many suspects involved in the use of hard drugs, including Indian hemp.
He promised that the command would not relent in its efforts to make the state free of illicit and hard drugs.
He said, “We have recorded tremendous arrests of drugs users, especially when our men are on routine patrol along Asaba-Benin Expressway, around Issele-Azagba, in Obiaruku, Kwale, Umutu, and some parts of Asaba.
“Indian hemp business thrives, but we will not allow such under my leadership; we believe we can do it to eradicate the ills within the ambit of the law. The NDLEA will deal with those who refuse to desist from the use of hard drugs.”
Our correspondent learnt that some of the areas of the state notorious for use of India hemp are Abraka, Infant Jesus Road, Ogbesowe; all in Asaba, while Obiaruku, Kwale, Umutu and Ozoro were regarded as a Mecca of sort for the illicit drugs.
It was gathered that in Obiaruku and Kwale, illicit activities in sale of Indian hemp had been a way of life to most residents of the community.