Nigerian man gets 20 years for bringing drugs into VN
Ezechukwu Emeka Celestine was caught hiding the drugs in his suitcase when he arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on a flight from Nigeria on August 10, 2012.
Customs officers at the airport noticed Celestine acting suspicious, so they decided to re-check his luggage.
Officers than found two plastic bags containing white powder hidden inside the liner of the man’s suitcase. The total weight of the substance was 956.6 grams.
Tests carried out later confirmed the powder was Methamphetamine, a kind of synthetic drug.
During previous questionings by investigators, as well as in court yesterday, Celestine pleaded not guilty to trafficking drugs.
He affirmed that he had not known about the drugs hidden in the suitcase.
Celestine said he was arriving in Vietnam for the first time when he was seized. A few days before the trip, he bought this suitcase for US$300 and took a Qatar Airways flight from Lagos (Nigeria) to HCMC, with a layover in Doha (Qatar).
He insisted that he was a trader and that he had come to Vietnam only to buy garments and bring them back to Nigeria for sale.
However, the court rejected his arguments, confirming that the evidence related to the case was enough to charge Celestine with trafficking drugs.
Last month, a 31-year-old Nigerian man was sentenced by the same court to death for smuggling more than 3.4 kg of synthetic drugs from Qatar to Vietnam in June 2012.
Ejiogu Benjamin Ikechukwu, who arrived at Tan Son Nhat Airport on June 23, 2012, was caught hiding 19 bags of white powder in 16 metal cylinders and a laptop adapter.
Tests conducted later showed that the powder was methamphetamine.
Ikechukwu was arrested and confessed that he was carrying the cylinders and adapter for a man named Onyekachi, who is still at large.
Under Vietnam’s Penal Code, those who are convicted of smuggling more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine will be given a death sentence.
The capital penalty is also applied for those who are indicted for producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics