Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

SA extradited suspected drug lord to face charges in the United States

Domestic Worker murderThe alleged drug trafficking mastermind was handed over to US authorities on Thursday.

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After spending a year in the South African prison system, 54-year-old Edwin Elochukwu Anyaoku from Nigeria was extradited to the United States, to face charges related to drug trafficking.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, noted in a statement that Anyaoku was placed under arrest, in 2018, after a successful operation uncovered the 54-year-old as an alleged mastermind behind a multimillion international drug-smuggling operation.

“Anyaoku, a Nigerian national, was arrested in a joint police investigation by the Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB) and Crime Intelligence (Counter Narcotics) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which resulted in the seizure of 29 kilograms of heroin worth more than R6-million,” Brig. Mulaudzi revealed.

Why was Anyaoku extradited to the United States?

The investigation identified two other suspects, 42-year-old Lerato Diannah Mohai, and Christopher Okonkwo, a 53-year-old male.

It is believed that while Okonkwo was the scout who allegedly supplied Anyaoku with mules, Mohai, a South African local, was one of the courier that led investigators to the arrest of the suspected drug lord.

“The investigation into the group started in 2017. An undercover operation was set where Anyaoku allegedly agreed to supply heroin. Anyaoku brought 29 kilograms of heroin and after the purchase, he was arrested together with Mohai and Okonkwo,” Brig. Mulaudzi explained.

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The two subordinates, Okonkwo and Mohai, appeared before the Randburg Regional Court, in Johannesburg, for charges related to illegal drug possession and trafficking.

However, after a deeper look into the case, charges against the suspected scout, Okonkwo, were withdrawn.

When was he extradited?

Mohai’s ongoing case is still being heard by the courts, who have yet to conclude on the matter and arrive at a ruling.

The suspected drug lord was also due to face the mighty arm of the law in South Africa, but the United States had other plans for the 54-year-old.

“A request was received from the Justice Department of the United States of America for the extradition of Anyaoku late last year. The extradition hearing took place in December last year and Anyaoku decided to waive his right to appeal against the extradition,” Mulaudzi explained.

With the assistance of the Pretoria Interpol office, Anyaoku was successfully extradited to the United States on Thursday.

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