This is the story of Euphemia Ugwuoke, a mother of four who is alleged to have aided several suspected criminals to sedate and dispossess their victims of their cars and valuables through her big boobs and a sedative, known as Ativan.
Her lid was blown open when some notorious car snatchers recently arrested by detectives attached to the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), alleged that she was the one who taught them how to sedate victims with a drug she sells to them. The suspected car snatchers who were arrested include Moses Ugwu, Kingsley Iwueze and the receiver of the stolen cars, Onyebuchi Odoh.
According to Saturday Sun police source, they were all declared wanted when their latest victim, Clifford Echereode, the owner of a Toyota Corolla car, in a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, alleged that the suspects drugged and stole his car in Festac area of Lagos State.
According to him, on May 22, 2019, at about 10 pm, he was at Apple junction, in Amuwo Odofin area with his car, which he used for Uber transport service. While he was waiting to pick a passenger, a man approached him and requested that he should drive him to the airport to pick his brother who was returning from Ghana.
Since the flight would arrive at 11:30 pm, the man lured him to a restaurant in Festac town with the excuse that they would eat and wait for the plane to land before proceeding to the airport. He offered him some Suya (barbecued beef) and after eating, he slept off. By the time he woke up, his car and other valuables were gone.
Blowing the lid
Acting on the petition, Commander of IRT, DCP Abba Kyari deployed his team in Lagos who tracked and arrested the suspects in Lagos and Enugu states. The police team recovered some of the cars including that of their latest victim.
In the course of investigation, the suspects confessed that the only tool they used to easily dispossess their victims is a sleeping tablet, which was sold to them by one Euphemia.
She was arrested and during interrogation, she told the police that she got the idea from her ex-boyfriend who was a notorious armed robber.
My breasts make men sleep
Begging for mercy, Euphemia lamented that she could not believe that she was heading back to prison again. “I only sold the drug to them, I did not ask them to use it to steal. My only crime was buying and selling that drug to criminals.”
Going down memory lane, Euphemia, aged 40, told Saturday Sun that it was in a bid to raise money to take care of her children that landed her in trouble. “I am a native of Nsukka in Enugu State and shortly after my traditional marriage, my husband took me to Benue where I gave birth to three boys. I was pregnant with the third one in 2002, when there was a clash in Zaki Biam where we were living. We fled the village and my husband got a place in Gboko.
“My husband asked me to stay with the children while he was to go to Makurdi to find a job. He went there and fell in love with another woman and abandoned me and the children. He stopped sending money, so I decided to trace him to Makurdi. When I got there, he beat me up and warned me not to come to Makurdi except invited. He managed to give me small money and drove me out of the house. He preferred staying and taking care of another woman while we suffered.
“I was a complete housewife with no source of living. He married me when I was 18, so I did not have the opportunity to learn any trade. I had no choice than to respond to the advances of men, because I was so beautiful with big breasts. It was in that process that I met one Ezinne who advised me that the only way out is to go into full prostitution. She advised me that as a woman with children, no man would like to date me for a long time because of my needs and that of my children and that it was better for me to hustle since I was beautiful. I started going out with him and with the money I made, I relocated my family to Enugu. I had relations that helped me to take care of my children while I hustled at night.”
According to Euphemia, it was while she was prostituting that she met one Emmanuel, a notorious armed robber. “Luckily for me in 2012, I met one Emmanuel and he paid to spend the night with me. In the morning, he was so happy and begged me to be his permanent friend. He promised to take care of me and my children and I agreed.
“He paid for my house rent and my children’s school fees. Just as he promised, he gave me more than enough money that I made from prostitution. I assumed that he was a successful businessman who needed quality sex. I did not bother to inquire much about him because most of my customers were married men.
“One day, he told me that we were going to Owerri, we boarded a private cab and when we got to the hotel, he invited the driver to come inside and eat. He gave him Yoghurt drink and Suya. We were still discussing when the driver slept off. He asked me to go and wait for him outside. A minute later, he came out with the car key and we drove off. I was shocked and asked him what just happened. It was then that he told me that that was how he was making a living. He told me that he added a sleeping tablet in the drink and that the name of the tablet was ‘Ativan’.
Becoming a kingpin
Since Euphemia was benefitting from the business of car theft, she decided to continue and became a partner. “My job then was to buy the food or drink and pour the sleeping tablet into it. Everything was moving on well till sometime in 2013, when we travelled to Orlu. He bought suya and gave the driver and he refused to eat. He tried every other method and the man refused to eat. Emmanuel suddenly excused himself and disappeared. After an hour, the driver asked me where he was, I couldn’t reach him even on phone. At that point, the driver raised alarm and people gathered. I told them that I was just a prostitute on duty and they refused and started beating me.
“I was dragged to the police station and charged to court. I spent three years in prison before I was able to secure bail, thanks to one Barrister Mbachu. He goes around prisons to help poor people get bail. I was released on September 21, 2017. I came back and returned to Nsukka and started managing my life. I decided to prostitute a little to raise money and start a business. Luckily, my family took good care of my children while I was away. Ejike, my brother knew about it (the drug) because I normally give it to my mother who has constant migraine.”
Euphemia claimed that she tried not to get involved in anything bad or sell the drug to anyone. “You cannot get it in an open market except with a doctor’s prescription. Emmanuel connected me to a man in Enugu who he normally buys those drugs from but at a higher rate. One day, Ejike came home with one man called Moses and asked me to sell the drugs to him. I warned Ejike to be sure that his friend would not call my name if arrested. He assured me and I sold a pack to him for N15, 000. I was surprised when Moses told the police that he gave me N450, 000 for the drugs. Please go to any big pharmacy and ask them how much it is sold.”
On the alleged use of the sleeping tablet to sedate men, Euphemia said she tried it once on a stingy customer in Enugu. “I had a customer who will always find one excuse or the other why he would not pay the agreed sum after several rounds of sex. I decided to use it on him by rubbing it on my nipples. It is tasteless but I doubt if that was the real reason he slept off. I have big breasts and men love sucking them. Most of them sleep off doing that and if I want to rob you, I would use the opportunity to do so. I am a mother of four, but my breasts remain my best selling point.”
Forgive me, son
On what has become of her children, Euphemia said that one of them is based in Ghana. “I have a wonderful family who took care of my boys while I was in prison. Before I was arrested, I got pregnant for one Anambra man and he is taking good care of his daughter. My first son is based in Ghana and has sworn not to have anything to do with me. When I was arrested in Owerri, police took the car they found in my compound and the car belongs to my son. He has shown them proof that the car is his and yet they refused to give it back to him.
“My only wish is that my son will forgive me and believe that I have changed for good. I have started a provision store and no longer sell my body for money. It was the drug that I sold to Moses last year that landed me into trouble. They arrested him and he mentioned my name. Please, I want the world to help me to beg my son. I am sorry, I know that I have disgraced you by my act, please forgive me and help me out of this problem,” she wept.
On the whereabouts of her estranged husband, Euphemia said that they were in the process of reconciliation before she was arrested. “I had three sons for him, and his family has told him the importance of bringing me back home. They blamed him for all the things that I have been through. I hope that this matter will not destroy everything,” she said.
What we did with the drug
On their part, the suspected car thieves claimed that they used the sleeping pill to sedate their victims and take their cars away while they are sleeping.
According to Ugwu who is the leader of the gang, he started stealing cars when he could not provide for his family from the proceeds of his job. “Shortly after dropping out of secondary school, I travelled to Nnewi to learn a trade, and I served my master who was a spare parts dealer for nine years. Towards the end of the nine years, he started accusing me of one crime or the other till he sent me packing without any form of settlement.
“While I was working for him, I realized that there was so much money to be made by selling scrap. As soon as I was jobless in 2013, I started picking and selling scraps especially irons. I also buy from mechanics and spare parts dealers especially the fairly used ones. I will then sell to the company that buys scrap at a higher price. The company, which normally melts iron is based in Asaba, Delta State. It was the proceeds that I used to rent a decent house in Nnewi and got married. I have six children and they are all in school.
“Initially, the company that buys those scraps from us normally give us loan till in 2017 when they stopped. They claim that some of us collected the money and disappeared. Life became hard because you cannot make much money picking iron. The real business is by buying and reselling. My income dropped drastically, I was only making N7000 a day. It was not easy to survive with six children. I was praying and hoping for a breakthrough when a friend introduced me to Ejike.
“Ejike told me that he is a professional car snatcher and wanted me to work with him. If he gets useless cars, he will give me and I will dismantle and sell it as scrap. It was while we were doing that business, he introduced me to his sister Euphemia who sells sleeping pills. Ejike taught me the easiest way to snatch a car is by convincing the driver to eat food that has sleeping pill mixed in it. While asleep, one will take the car and go with ease,” he said.
He claimed that the sleeping pill was sold to him by Euphemia at N150, 000 per pack. “I was interested and decided to buy the drug and start my own business. I bought it from her at N150, 000 per pack and I bought about five packs which was about N750, 000. I paid N450, 000 as advance and promised to pay the balance later. I discovered that it was safer to steal without guns because no one will accuse you of murder.
“I bought that much because I was ready to go into the car-snatching business. I didn’t want to hear that it cannot be found in the pharmacy. In Nnewi, private taxi drivers now use big cars, especially in hotels and those who go to airports to pick passengers.
“In this line of business, you need to be generous to succeed. All I normally do is to board a lovely car and ask the driver to take me to any hotel of my choice. I will tell the driver that I will sleep in the hotel and travel the next day to the village. I will tell him that I will pay for the days that he would take me and will be ready to lodge him in the same hotel that I stay.
“The taxi driver will be excited and agree. At that point, I will order for drinks and suya or food for him. The person that will bring the food is normally my agent, so his job is to spray the food and drink with the sleeping drug. Few minutes after taking the food, he will sleep off. I will collect the car key and drive off. It is very simple. The person will wake up an hour later.
“On my own I recruited one Kingsley who is based in Lagos because that is where the real business is. I explained to Kingsley the real deal and he advised me to relocate to Lagos. In Lagos, we snatched three cars and sold them at N800, 000 each. I have warned Kingsley severally to stop using phones of our victims but he did not listen. It was because of his carelessness that police traced and arrested us. I was attending the burial ceremony of my sister, when police arrested me,” he said.
The second suspect, Kingsley who is a professional driver said that he resigned from his bank job to go into full-time car snatching because his salary was just N50, 000 monthly. “I am 34 years old and married with two kids. I am an OND holder from Nekede, Owerri, Imo State where I read Public Administration. After my graduation, my father gave some money and I started a provision store but government demolished the store. Out of job, I relocated to Lagos where I secured a driving job with Ecobank in 2014. I worked for them for two years as a contract staff and I was paid N35, 000 a month.
“Unfortunately in 2016, they sacked all drivers. They started using Uber to anywhere they wanted to go claiming that they were wasting money on drivers.
In 2017, I got another job with UBA and they were paying me N50, 000 a month. I was satisfied with the job till in 2018, when Moses asked me to stop the work, that they were treating me like a slave. He came with a good idea on how we can make quick money. He started by giving me fairly used cars to sell and after sale, he would give N50, 000 as my share.
“One weekend, he called me and asked me to look for a clean car for him that he has a business meeting in Lagos. I got him a Toyota Corolla and waited for him at the airport. When we picked him, he told the taxi man that he has a business meeting in the next three hours but needed to eat before going.
“He took us to a restaurant at Ajao Estate and Moses told him that he was going to pay for his service for the whole day. He called me aside and showed me the tablet he was holding. He asked me to go and buy Suya across the road for the driver and sprinkle the powder on it. I was confused but obeyed him. The happy driver took the Suya and ate.
“Few minutes later, he was already asleep. Moses took the driver’s car key and we left. It was while we were living that he told me that this was his line of business. He gave me N50, 000 and asked me to go home. Two days later, he paid N170, 000 into my account. This was my salary for three months, I was carried away and decided to work with him.
“I joined him to do several jobs in Lagos. I was also able to do one myself. He gave me the drugs and said that I am strong enough to handle it on my own. I did and after selling the car, Moses gave me N400, 000,” he said.
The car dealer, Onyebuchi Odoh, who sold most of the stolen cars claimed that he never knew they were stolen. “A lot of people bring fairly used cars for me to sell. It was after selling the car that I realized that it was stolen. Moses could not produce the original documents of the car. I had to forge new ones. Since it was stolen, I took N200, 000 as my share for the sale of each car. I am happy that the police have recovered all the stolen cars.”