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Press Release

Nigerian National Sentenced for Trafficking 30 Kilograms of Heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Nigerian man was sentenced today to over five years in prison for trafficking more than 30 kilograms of heroin intended for importation into the United States.

According to court documents, Edwin Anyaoku, 54, was a heroin trafficker residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. In that part of the world, heroin typically originates in Pakistan or Afghanistan, then transits the southern part of Africa before being smuggled elsewhere. In December 2017, a law enforcement confidential source (CS) negotiated to buy one kilogram of heroin from Anyaoku in exchange for $15,000. Anyaoku understood that the CS would be distributing the heroin for profit in the United States.

The one kilogram, however, was merely a test run for a larger load. And in June 2018, Anyaoku negotiated another deal with the CS, this time for a load of 29 kilograms of heroin, at a cost of $14,000 per kilogram. Anyaoku understood that the heroin would be sold in New York for more than $60,000 per kilogram. On June 19, 2018, Anyaoku and one of his associates arrived at a hotel in Johannesburg with the 29 kilograms of heroin hidden in a duffel bag and a rolling suitcase. Anyaoku was then arrested by South African authorities and detained pending extradition proceedings.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Rumbaugh prosecuted the case.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) provided significant assistance in the investigation of this case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-270.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated September 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking