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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Soldier gets five years for plot to smuggle £80,000 worth of cocaine into Scotland in kiddies marker pens


A scheming Scots-based soldier was jailed for five years yesterday for a plot to smuggle cocaine worth nearly £80,000 into his barracks ... hidden in marker pens. Nigeria-born rifleman Osita Brutus Omenyima tried to run from the police who snared him, but they caught him after a chase across the parade ground. Omenyima's cousin had posted him more than half a pound of the Class A drug from Venezuelan capital Caracas. The 25 per cent pure cocaine was stuffed into highlighter pens in a package which also contained books, pamphlets and a prayer written on a piece of paper.  Border cops at Coventry airport, where the parcel arrived in Britain, noticed some of the 38 pens were leaking. The pens were opened and found to contain 266 grams of cocaine, worth an estimated £79,800 on the streets. Police in Edinburgh set a trap for 35-yearold Omenyima, with an undercover officer posing as a Parcel Force delivery driver and handing him the package at the gates of Edinburgh's Redford Barracks. Eight other officers watched the handover then moved in to make the arrest. Omenyima started sweating when he saw he had been trapped. He fled across the parade ground and threw the parcel away but the cops chased and caught him. The shamed squaddie denied knowing anything about the drugs and insisted he was a "fall guy". But a jury convicted him of being concerned in the supply of cocaine between January and September 2010. Prosecutor Gillian More told the High Court in Edinburgh: "He used the Army to conduct this drug-dealing operation. He used his position in the Army as a front." Omenyima, a qualified accountant, came to London from Nigeria in 2008 to study but then enlisted in The Rifles. He left twin teenage sons in his homeland but remarried in 2009. His new wife gave birth at the end of his trial. Richard Goddard, defending, said Omenyima was a first offender from a lawabiding background whose family would soon have to leave their Army housing. He added: "The consequences of this conviction will be far-reaching, not just for Omenyima but for other innocent parties." Sentencing, Lord Malcolm told Omenyima he had done well in the Army. But he added: "You have thrown all this away by your deliberate involvement in an illegal trade which causes misery to users, their families and society. "There would appear to be no motive other than financial gain." The judge praised police and UK Border Agency for their work to trap Omenyima. The dealer protested his innocence as he was taken to the cells.


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