Benjamin Nwaogwugwu, identified as a Nigerian living in the United Kingdom (UK), has been jailed after he was arrested by the police at Manchester airport for swallowing cocaine “worth £80,000”.
The Daily Mail reports that the illicit drug was consumed by Nwaogwugwu, who claimed to have been hired by Colombian drug barons, at a hotel in South America before he flew to Paris and then returned to the UK.
The 43-year-old was said to have pretended to be a Liverpool fan returning to the UK after watching the UEFA Champions League final — which held on May 28, 2022, in Paris — when police saw him grimacing in pain at the airport.
It took two days for him to pass out the drugs from his bowels, and after analysis, it was discovered that the cocaine has a “purity of up to 89%” after an examination was done on 19 packages.
According to the report, Nwaogwugwu, said to be married with three children, said some persons threatened to harm his family members in Nigeria if he didn’t transport the drugs.
“The defendant was told if he did not do this, he and his family would be harmed and was threatened. There was a total of 100 packages but the defendant could only swallow 79 and was vomiting blood so had to stop. He was taken to the airport and flown back to France, then onto Manchester,” a statement detailing his plea reads.
“The defendant was under significant pressure to commit this offence but accepts this was not duress. The defendant did not stand to profit financially from this activity.”
He was arrested on June 1, 2022, and jailed for four years and two months after he pleaded guilty to cocaine importation.
Tina Landale, the presiding judge, reportedly said despite Nwaogwugwu’s “clean” record, measures must be taken to “prevent criminals from taking on these types of crimes”.
“You became involved in an enterprise where you attempted to bring cocaine into Manchester,” the judge was quoted as saying.
“You cooperated with it and then you tried to lie your way out of it. Drug smuggling is a vile, vile trade and it’s clear that these criminals prey on the vulnerable and you were exploited.
“Up to now, you had been making a positive contribution to the community and it is clear you are a man of good character and that you care for your family. However, this is an extremely serious offence and there must be a deterrence to prevent criminals from taking on these types of crimes.”
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