Joburg drug smuggler sentenced to over 5 years in prison in the US

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A man was extradited to the US and sentenced.
A man was extradited to the US and sentenced.
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  • A man who was extradited to the US from SA last year has been sentenced to over five years in prison for drug trafficking.
  • The 54-year-old was arrested in Johannesburg in 2018 during a joint operation by the Hawks and US law enforcement. 
  • The US Department of Justice says SAPS contributed significantly to the case.

A man who was extradited to the United States from South Africa last year has been sentenced to over five years in prison for trafficking more than 30 kilograms of heroin intended for importation into the US.

This comes after Nigerian national Edwin Anyaoku, 54, was arrested in Fourways, Johannesburg, in July 2018 during a joint operation by the Hawks' South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SAEB) and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 

News24 earlier reported that the extradition was later authorised by the then Justice Minister Michael Masutha in April, 2019.

READ| Alleged drug trafficker extradited to the US to face charges

The US Department of Justice, in a statement on Tuesday, said that according to court documents, Anyaoku was a heroin trafficker residing in Johannesburg.

"In that part of the world, heroin typically originates in Pakistan or Afghanistan, then transits the southern part of Africa before being smuggled elsewhere. In December 2017, a law enforcement confidential source negotiated to buy one kilogram of heroin from Anyaoku in exchange for $15,000 (just over R250 000).

Profit

"Anyaoku understood that the confidential source would be distributing the heroin for profit in the United States," the US Attorney's Office in the eastern district of Virginia explained.

The 1kg was a test run for a larger load and Anyaoku negotiated another deal with the confidential source in June 2018, however at that time it was a load of 29 kg of heroin, at a cost of $14,000 per kg.

Anyaoku understood that the heroin would be sold in New York for more than $60,000 (just over R1 million) per kg.

"On June 19, 2018, Anyaoku and one of his associates arrived at a hotel in Johannesburg with the 29 kilograms of heroin hidden in a duffel bag and a rolling suitcase. Anyaoku was then arrested by South African authorities and detained pending extradition proceedings.

"The South African Police Service (SAPS) provided significant assistance in the investigation of this case," the statement said.

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