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JTF smashes international oil theft syndicate

By The Citizen

(name withheld) who specializes in sourcing for illegally distilled petroleum products in Nigeria's Niger Delta area have been nabbed by operatives of 3 Battalion of Joint Task Force (Operation Pulo Shield) during a patrol of Opodibobo creek near Escravos in Warri South West Local Council of Delta State.

The cartel was busted during one of the series of anti-oil-theft operations recently carried out by the battalion.

The Joint Media Coordinator of the JTF command station in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Lt Col. Oyema Ugochukwu, in a statement said apart from arresting members of the syndicate, captured items include one big Cotonou boat containing 11 large plastic reservoirs and a speedboat.

Ugochukwu said, 'The suspects are currently undergoing preliminary investigations to uncover their links and other collaborators in the illicit trade.'

The command spokesman said also in a similar operation of anti-oil-theft operation, seven other suspects operating illegal oil distillation sites were arrested by troops of 3 and 19 Battalions covering the Sector 1 area of responsibility of the JTF.

He said during the swift operation that resulted in the arrests, the troops scuttled 16 illegal oil distillation camps and 21 Cotonou boats in Tukula, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Odi II, Asugba, Beneth Island, Ekekudo, Escravos, Egwa, Egbeokute and Opodiboba in Warri South West, Warri South and Okpe Local Councils.

'Also scuttled were seven illegal distillation sites situated in Moboko, Irhado, Agbekudo, Obodo camp, Ajeosoho, Sapele water side and Omere in Ethiope West, Okpe and Sapele Local Councils of Delta State. The troops also scuttled 503 steel tanks, 22 cooking ovens, 44 plastic tanks, 16 large surface tanks, 12 dug out pits, 329 drums and 13 pumping machines used for the illicit activity during the operation,' he said