News and Press Releases

HOUSTON COUPLE SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTED SMUGGLING OF 16 POUNDS OF HEROIN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2005

WOLE EMANUEL OGEDENGBE, 47, and RAFAT OGEDENGBE, 44, both of Houston, Texas were sentenced today to 151 months in prison for Conspiracy to Import Heroin. Both were convicted following a five day trial in March 2005. In asking Judge John C. Coughenour for the lengthy sentences, Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence Lincoln noted that the large amount of heroin would have affected many lives. "Heroin decimates lives, families, and communities in many ways.... Many users commit property crimes and violent acts to support their habits.... Heroin leads to addicted babies and abandoned children. It drains public resources and services. Trafficking in heroin spawns a subculture of aggressive, violent criminals who seek to profit from its sale," Lincoln wrote in his sentencing memorandum.

According to testimony at trial, WOLE OGEDENGBE arrived at Sea-Tac Airport on May 9, 2004, on a flight originating in Lagos, Nigeria, with a connection in Amsterdam, Holland. OGEDENGBE appeared nervous talking with inspectors, and gave evasive answers. He stated he was returning to Houston but had no ticket for the flight. Behind the false lining of one of his suitcases, inspectors found 15.95 pounds of heroin.

The investigation revealed that four Houston based couriers including RAFAT OGEDENGBE had recently traveled to Nigeria using tickets purchased by Chicago based co-conspirators. The Houston couriers would be met in Seattle by a Chicago based co-conspirator, who then returned home with extra luggage. The Houston residents would purchase a ticket in Seattle for their return to Houston. Many of the co-conspirators were connected through records of cell phone calls.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lawrence Lincoln and Norman Barbosa.

For additional information please contact: Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at (206)553-4110.

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