Federal High Court Proceedings: Allegations of Cocaine Smuggling Against MV Cooper Island Crew

Federal High Court Proceedings: Allegations of Cocaine Smuggling Against MV Cooper Island Crew

Federal High Court Proceedings: NDLEA Charges Ship Owner and Crew for Cocaine Smuggling

In a legal development at the Federal High Court in Lagos, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has brought charges against the owner of MV Cooper Island and ten crew members for allegedly smuggling 24 kilograms of cocaine into Nigeria.

Defendants and Arraignment Details

The accused individuals, reportedly of Ukrainian and Estonian nationality, were identified as Krasnoperov Oleksii, Enesa Julio (Jr) Pedrogosa, Nonan Ulysses Doria, Torino Jhundhel Adang, Alado Elpe De Pedro, Empedrado Ryan De Jesus, Liquit Niel Morris Auxtero, Akulov Oleg, Frugalidad Francis Cabaluna, and Duran Niel Stephen Dias.

They were arraigned alongside the vessel at the Federal High Court.

Arrest and Prosecution

The arrests took place on July 6, 2023, at the Josepdam Port berthing Point, located at Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos.

During the court proceedings, the prosecution, represented by Mrs. Josephine Obi, testified that the defendants collaborated in unlawfully importing the illegal drug from the Port of Santos in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Charges and Violations

According to the prosecutor, the defendants’ actions are in violation of sections 20 (1)(a) and section 14 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Act Cap N30, which is part of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Plea and Bail Conditions

Each defendant entered a not guilty plea in response to the charges. Subsequently, their attorneys appealed to the court to maintain the bail conditions granted by Justice Nicholas Oweibo during the court’s annual long vacation.

These conditions required each defendant to deposit $40,000 into a designated “escrow account.”

Court Approval and Moving Forward

Following the prosecution’s confirmation of the fund deposits into the escrow account, Justice Ayotunde Faji, the trial judge, approved the bail conditions.

The legal proceedings are set to continue as the court addresses the alleged cocaine smuggling case involving the ship owner and its crew.

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