Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Nigerian Drug Dealer Sentenced In U.S
A Nigerian who authorities say ran one of the most expansive heroin smuggling networks ever uncovered involving Houston's main airport has been sentenced to nearly 25 years in prison.
Koyode Lawrence was sentenced on Tuesday in a Houston federal courtroom after having earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance.
The case goes back to February 2001 when two men working for Lawrence were arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Authorities say the pair had swallowed packets of heroin being smuggled from Nigeria.
Prosecutors say the 45-year-old Lawrence mainly recruited college students with dual US and Nigerian citizenship for his smuggling ring.
Lawrence, from Lagos, Nigeria, fought extradition for nearly 10 years but he was transferred to the US in late 2013.
The United States had been waiting for this day for more than a decade; it went after Lawrence, who led a Lagos Island-based trafficking organization that used high-school and college-aged Americans to swallow into their stomachs dozens of rubberized capsules full of heroin in order to sneak them into the United States while aboard commercial plane flights.
As part of a heroin-trafficking conspiracy, Lawrence personally evaluated "swallowers" to see whether they had the stomachs for the business, according to court papers and testimony.
And as he fought his extradition to face justice in Houston, Lawrence spent at least some time in a special Nigerian prison wing known as the White House for its amenities - including computer access, meals brought in from restaurants, and nights out on the town with girlfriends, said his former cell mate, who is also serving time in this country.
Source; Per Second News