A 34-year-old South American man from Suriname has been sentenced to 13 years prison term for smuggling drug into Nigeria.
The man, whose name was given as Dadda Lorenzo Harvy Albert, was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers state for bringing into Nigeria 117 parcels of cocaine concealed in extra-large latex condoms factory packed inside bottles of 100ml body spray, taken to court subsequently found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
According to a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, the accused who claimed he departed his country, Suriname, located in the North Eastern coast of South America on 2nd April for Sao Paulo, Brazil and from Sao Paulo to Nigeria on Friday 7th April, 2023 on board Qatar Airways flight in search of his long-lost Nigerian father whom he called “Omini”, was arraigned before Justice E.A. Obile of the Federal High Court 2, Port Harcourt on 1st June on two counts of importation and unlawful possession of 9.9 kilogrammes cocaine in charge number FHC/PH/181C/23.
The Surinamese however pleaded guilty to the two-count charge and after the review of the facts of the case on Thursday 20th July, he was convicted and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment on both counts without an option of fine.
In his ruling, Justice Obile declared that “You Dadda Lorenzo Harvy Albert is hereby sentenced to 13 years imprisonment without option of fine on Count 1 and Count 2 also. And both shall run concurrently.”
The trial judge also ordered the forfeiture of the sum of US$90 R$10 (Brazilian Real) recovered from the convict at the time of his arrest to the Federal Government. The court equally refused the application by Lorenzo’s Counsel for him to be deported back to his country. As a result, the convict is now serving his term of imprisonment at the Correctional Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to Babafemi, the successful prosecution and conviction of Lorenzo is one of the 1,445 drug cases concluded at the Federal High Court across the country between January and June 2023 by the Directorate of Prosecution and Legal Services of NDLEA with the trial of a total of 11,166 other drug suspects ongoing in court.
He said out of the 1,445 convicts, 221 of them are female while the balance of 1,541 are male; and of the 11,166 pending cases, 10,626 of them are men while the rest, 540 are women.
Babafemi said the 1,445 convicts and 11,166 suspects who are still facing trial were arrested and charged to court over the seizure of 555,953.70 kilogrammes of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis, tramadol and others linked to them between January and June 2023.
Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) commended officers and men of the prosecution department for a job well done.
He however charged them to remain committed to diligent prosecution of all pending cases in court, adding that conviction and sentencing without the option of fine is a strong deterrence to offenders and anyone contemplating going into any crime.