LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian drug agents on Saturday arrested a senator-elect wanted by the United States in a nearly 20-year-old heroin deal that was allegedly the basis for the TV hit “Orange Is The New Black.”
Buruji Kashamu is under house arrest at his Lagos home, spokesman Ofoyeju Mitchell of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency told The Associated Press. He said Kashamu, 56, will appear in court Monday to start extradition proceedings to the United States.
Kashamu had already been suing a Nigerian court to prevent attempts to extradite him
Kashamu had become a powerful politician and financier of President Goodluck Jonathan’s party. Jonathan and his party both lost in the March election but Kashamu was elected a senator in balloting opponents said was rigged.
Kashamu has said the 1998 indictment by a grand jury in Chicago for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin in the U.S. is a case of mistaken identity. He said prosecutors really want the dead brother he closely resembles.
His lawyers called Saturday’s house arrest a political conspiracy.
“This latest onslaught is a confirmation of the alleged plot to illegally abduct him in spite of the pending suit against this illegality,” Kashamu spokesman Austin Oniyokor said.
At the time of his lawsuit, the United States had not filed an extradition request. It was not clear when one was filed, but Mitchell said that was the reason for Saturday’s action.
The move comes days before Jonathan is to step down and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari takes office on Friday.
A previous request to extradite Kashamu from Britain failed in 2003. Kashamu spent five years in a British jail before he was freed over uncertainty about his identity. He was carrying $230,000 when he was arrested there.
A dozen people long ago pleaded guilty in the case, including American Piper Kerman, whose memoir was adapted for the Netflix hit “Orange Is The New Black.” Kerman’s book never identified Kashamu by name, only citing a West African drug kingpin.