A convicted drug dealer, Igwe Okoye Onwukwe, has again been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour, by a Lagos Federal High Court, for smuggling 32.400 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa popularly called marijuana to the United Kingdom (UK).
Okoye who claims to be a clearing agent, was in November 2020, convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment, by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the same division of the court, for smuggling 1. 64 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa.
He was however given an option of fine of N500, 000.
Shortly after he was released from prison after fulfilling his bail conditions, he was rearrested on October 15, 2021, by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for attempting to export 34.400 kilograms of the banned substance.
Following his arrest, he was brought before Justice Peter Lifu on a three count charge of conspiracy, unlawful exportation of the banned weed and procuring one Ikechukwu Kelvin to unlawfully export the same banned weed.
The prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, during the convict’s arraignment, told the court that the convict was arrested with the 16, 550 kilograms of prohibited weeds, on October 15, 2021, at Export Shed, a Customs Point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos during the clearance of cargoes to London, United Kingdom.
The prosecutor told the court that the convict conspired with the duo of Ezeugo’ and one ‘James Darren’ of Peckham, United Kingdom, (both now at large), to engage in the illicit act.
Abu also told the court that the convict procured one Ikechukwu Kelvin, on October 20, 2021, to illegally export 15.850 kilograms of the banned weed.
He told the court that the offences committed by the convict, contravened Sections 14 (b); 19 and 21(2)(d) of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of 2004, and punishable under the same Act.
The convict had denied the allegations when he was first arraigned before the court sometimes in November 2021.
But midway into his trial, the convict changed his plea and admitted committing the nefarious acts.
Following his admission to the commission of the crimes, the prosecutor, reviewed the facts of the crimes, as well, tendered several exhibits.
In his allucutor, the convict told the court that, as a clearing agent, though not a registered one, he was deceived by his clients who are the owners of the prohibited cargoes.
His counsel, Adebayo Onifade, also pleaded with the court to be merciful to his client in sentencing him, because of his five children, wife and aged mother.
He particularly urged the court to consider option of fine in lieu of the custodian sentence.
The claims were rebuffed by the prosecutor, who told the court that the convict is one of the specialized cleaning agents, that are drug barons to smuggle drugs.
The prosecutor told the court, that the convict during interrogation, told investigators, how he was paid for the job.
Justice Lifu, after hearing parties of their submissions, dismissed the convict’s plea made by his counsel.
Justice Lifu consequently sentenced him to two years imprisonment with hard labour, in each of the counts.
The judge however ordered that the jail term be served concurrently and commencing from October 15, 2022, when he changed his plea.