Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dirty Drugs & Tricky Numbers

Bruce Vielmetti & Kitty Bennett, "Nigeria Source of Much Heroin," St. Petersburg Times [Florida] (November 2, 1990):

Donald Igwebuike left Nigeria to find fame and fortune kicking field goals in the National Football League.

Many of his countrymen, federal drug officials say, try a different path to fortune: heroin smuggling. Now drug agents are investigating whether Iggy, as he's known to fans, crossed that path too.

Federal officials say Nigerians have emerged as the premier "swallowers" of international smuggling. For a price, they gulp down sealed packets of heroin, fly around the world, and deliver the drug with the aid of laxatives.

&&&

But the national focus on a well-paid professional athlete raises the question of whether Igwebuike could have been drawn into crime because of his Nigerian roots, or has been wrongly suspected because of his nationality.

Over the past few years, airport inspectors in the United States and Europe have begun arresting so many nervous Nigerians with drug-laden intestines that nearly all passengers from that country have become suspect.

&&&

Muhammadu Jibirilla, a spokesman at the Nigerian embassy in Washington, D.C., acknowledged that many young Nigerians have fallen for the lure of quick drug profits, after learning that life in the United States is not the economic utopia they envision by watching television in Lagos.

Jibirilla also said that many of the criminal leaders in his country are blacks who emigrated there from less fortunate countries, not native Nigerians.

The Nigerian government complained earlier this year that the scrutiny amounted to discrimination. Jibirilla said the country is being singled out as a "sacrificial lamb."

The Nigerian government complained earlier this year that the scrutiny amounted to discrimination. Jibirilla said the country is being singled out as a "sacrificial lamb."

Numbers point to Nigerians

In Thailand, part of the so-called "Golden Triangle" that produces about half the heroin imported to the United States, Thai officials have reported that 80 percent of the Nigerians coming into the country are involved with trafficking the drug in Europe and the U.S.

British officials reported that fully a third of all heroin seized in the United Kingdom in 1989 was carried by Nigerians.

And in New York City, U.S. Customs inspectors at John F. Kennedy Airport in the past 12 months found 204 arriving passengers carrying about 250 pounds of heroin in their bodies.

Ninety percent of those arrested were Nigerians, said Joan Baran, a Customs spokeswoman.

Post a Comment