JammedUp News


Newly elected Nigerian Senator Arrested for 20 Year-old Heroin Ring, Which was the basis for “Orange Is the New Black”

May 24, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Newly elected Nigerian Senator Arrested for 20 Year-old Heroin Ring, Which was the basis for “Orange Is the New Black”

Are you in a legal jam? Find a Lawyer, Bail Bondsman or Private Investigator on JammedUp.

Nigerian law enforcement agents on Saturday, surrounded the house of a newly elected senator wanted in the United States for a heroin deal that took place 20-years ago, which was the inspiration for the hit series “Orange is the New Black.”

According to federal prosecutors in the U.S. Buruji Kashamu headed up a Chicago-based drug ring, which was the basis for the hit Netflix drama.

The Nigerian Senator-elect was indicted in 1998 by a federal grand jury in Chicago for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin. A dozen people pleaded guilty in the case, including American Piper Kerman, whose book was the basis used for the Netflix hit Orange Is The New Black. However, in Kerman’s book she never identified Kashamu by name, she only referred to him as a West African drug kingpin.

Federal prosecutors have just recently filed an extradition request after he was voted to be Senator in March’s Nigerian elections.

Nigerian drug agents placed Kashamu under house arrest Saturday morning. According to the chairman of Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Ahmadu Giade, he is scheduled for an extradition court hearing Monday morning.

Kashamu spokesman Austin Oniyokor, disputed the news that the Senator-elect has been placed under house arrest and called the allegations a political witch hunt. “He has not been arrested but there is a siege to his house and an attempt to take him forcibly, but no arrest warrant was presented,” he said.

“This latest onslaught is a confirmation of the alleged plot to abduct him illegally in spite of the pending suit against this illegality,” Oniyokor said.

The authorities reportedly raided the home Kashamu just before dawn on Saturday and armed agents were on the property Saturday night, according to Giade.

Kashamu has since become a top political figure and financier within the party of President Goodluck Jonathan, who recently lost the presidency in March. Despite Johnathan’s election loss, Kashamu managed to be elected Senator under dubious circumstances. Political opponents and election observers claim the balloting was rigged.

Kashamu has claimed his involvement in the indictment is a case of mistaken identity and that U.S. authorities wanted his dead brother, which he closely resembles.

It is unclear when the United States filed an extradition request. However, the spokesman for The Nigerian drug agency Ofoyeju Mitchell confirmed that Saturday’s operation was a direct result of a U.S. extradition request.

The news of Kashamu’s arrest comes just days before President-elect Muhammadu Buhari takes office Friday.

The change in the political climate in Nigeria could have played a factor in the U.S. seeking his extradition. Last September, Chicago Judge Richard Posner refused a request to dismiss Kashamu’s case, citing the U.S. Justice Department, who said the prospects for extradition have recently improved.’

Although U.K. authorities arrested him carrying $230,000 in cash, which saw him spend five years in a British jail. A Previous attempt to have him extradited in 2003 from Britain failed; he was then freed because of uncertainty about his identity.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has chastised Jonathan for his perceived protection of Kashamu and warned that ‘drug barons will buy candidates, parties and eventually buy power or be in power themselves.’

Get the latest news from the world of crime