36-year-old Nigerian, Patrick Udensi, serving jail term for smuggling drugs worth millions of pounds into the United Kingdom, has been ordered to pay £1.2 million or get additional seven years in prison.
A judge told Udensi, from North London, to pay the money after National Crime Agency (NCA) officers discovered he had valuable assets in Nigeria.
Udensi, according to a report on NCA’s website, is serving a 15-year prison sentence after he smuggled parcels of cocaine and cannabis with street value of £1.8 million to addresses in North London.
The convict laundered the proceeds of his crimes by buying car parts in the UK and shipping them to Nigeria where they were sold on the open market on his behalf.
If he fails to pay cash equal to the value of his Nigerian assets, which the NCA successfully argued in court were the benefits of a criminal lifestyle, he will have seven years and six months added to his sentence and will still owe the money when he comes out.
Udensi was convicted in 2015 following an NCA investigation.
His associate, John Arinze Nwosu, 44, from Edgebaston, Birmingham, absconded before trial and was sentenced to five years in prison in his absence.
The NCA are appealing for information on Nwosu’s whereabouts.
Udensi’s smuggling ring was discovered when Border Force officers detected a package mailed from St Maarten in the Caribbean to a North London address.
NCA border investigators found telephone and email evidence that Udensi headed up a group involved in at least 77 different parcel importation of cocaine and cannabis using 14 different destination addresses across north London.
He used Skype, Yahoo Messenger, iMessage and WhatsApp to communicate with drug distributors in Africa, Asia and South America.
Ian Truby, senior investigating officer for the NCA’s Heathrow border investigation team, said: “NCA officers will not let criminals serve their time and then fund luxury lifestyles with cash they made by exploiting people.
“We have worked hard in this case and others to find out how an offender has stored their criminal wealth so the courts can take it back from them.
“If Udensi pays up then he’ll get out of prison at the time he expected to. If not, it’s seven more years and the same bill at the end. It’s his choice.”