Jarahgist

NDLEA uncovers illegal hashish oil laboratory in Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency says it has uncovered a secret laboratory where hashish oil, derived from Indian hemp, was being made in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The agency said the illegal laboratory was the first of such to be uncovered and dismantled in Nigeria.

The World Health Organisation describes hashish oil, otherwise known as cannabis oil, as a concentrate of cannabinoids obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant.

An international oncology website, Oncozine, says there is enough scientific evidence showing that hashish oil has enough medicinal cannabinoids that help to kill abnormal cancer cells, especially in the early stages of the disease.

In a statement by NDLEA spokesman, Jonah Achema in Abuja on Friday, the illegal laboratory, located at 7, Imam Augusto Close, Victoria Island, has been dismantled.

“The hashish oil laboratory was run by one [name withheld] who engaged in indoor growing of cannabis sativa [marijuana] and processed same into hashish oil through his clandestine laboratory extraction.

“He is a half cast, born to a Nigerian father, an indigene of Ondo State; and a Danish Mother [names withheld],” he said.

“The suspect is a graduate of the University of Southern Denmark, with a degree in Electronic Engineering,” NDLEA statement said.

“In his confessional statement, the 45-year-old man claimed to have been introduced into the hydroponic cannabis growing and hashish oil extraction following the collapse of his Inverter, Metering and Solar Installation Company in 2019.

“He said he noticed that there was so much money to be made in view of the high demand for hashish oil in the international market as a curative medicine for cancer,” the statement added.

Chairman of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd.) said Nigeria could not afford “a dangerous brew of hashish oil and that of methamphetamine,” noting that the agency has been “working assiduously to put an end to its local production.”

“The drug trade is assuming a hitherto unthinkable dimension for somebody to turn his premises into a cannabis farm and to also establish in the same premises a laboratory to process the proceeds into byproducts such as hashish,” Abdallah said.

The agency alleged that the suspect’s “expansive premises was well fortified with protective dogs and firearms.”

“In the course of the operation, several drug exhibits were recovered, including 911 grams of cannabis seeds, 21kg of cannabis infused ethanol, 83 grams of hashish oil, 123mg THC-70 CBD, 1.127kg of cannabis cream, 80 grams of fresh cannabis plant and 25 grams of dried cannabis plant.

“Other items found in the active laboratory were two vehicles suspected to have been acquired from the proceeds of the illicit drug trade, 500 grams of potassium hydroxide pellets, propyl alcohol, 500 grams of sodium hydroxide pellets, distilled water, and water aspirator vacuum pump.

“Others were, round bottom flasks, citric acid, PH meter, retort stands, distillation flasks, printer, wireless WiFi, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, wooden base for hydroponic system of cannabis growing, LED floodlighting for photosynthesis purpose for the cannabis indoor planting and one product of Berreta 92 pistol with 13 rounds of live ammunition,” the release stated.

Oyinkansola Adedamola

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