Nigerian man pleads guilty to international heroin trafficking conspiracy
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Nigerian man pleaded guilty today to trafficking more than 30 kilograms of heroin intended for importation into the United States.
According to court documents, in December 2017, Edwin Anyaoku, 54, sold a kilogram of heroin for $15,000 to a confidential DEA source, with the understanding that the source would smuggle the heroin into the United States where it could be sold at a high profit. Anyaoku told the source that he had a nephew in the United States who could receive drug proceeds, and even offered to fly to the United States himself to bring back the money.
The one-kilogram deal, however, was only a test, and thereafter, Anyaoku started planning to sell the source a much larger load of heroin intended for the United States. In June 2018, Anyaoku arranged to sell the source a total of 29 kilograms of heroin, two of which were Anyaoku’s own personal investment, at a price of $14,000 per kilogram. Anyaoku expected to net a personal profit of thousands of dollars from the sale. In June 2018, Anyaoku and two accomplices showed up at a hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, with all 29 kilograms of heroin in luggage. Anyaoku was arrested and later extradited to the United States from South Africa in June 2019.
Anyaoku pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on March 20, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
DEA Washington Division Special Agent in Charge Jesse R. Fong and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the plea. A special thanks to DEA's Special Operations Division and DEA's Pretoria, South Africa, Country Office for their major work on this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Rumbaugh is prosecuting the case.
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