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Nigerian man arrested for attempting to smuggle 83,000 cigarettes worth £28,000 on flight from Nigeria to Newcastle (Photos)

A Nigerian man has been caught attempting to smuggle more than 83,000 cigarettes at Newcastle International Airport.

The man identified as Samuel Onyemenam, 50, was arrested while carrying luggage as he entered the country on a flight from Nigeria via Germany last November.

Border Force officers x-rayed three of the suitcases and found two of them were filled with 83,600 cigarettes, which would have carried duties worth £28,000.

Nigerian man arrested for trying to smuggle 83,000 cigarettes

Onyemenam, of Abbey Wood, London, was arrested and pleaded guilty to fraudulent evasion of office when he appeared in the dock this week.

Onyemenam arrived at Newcastle International Airport on a flight from Nigeria via Germany on November 26 last year, Newcastle Magistrates Court heard.

“He had three suitcases with him,” said Rob Lawson, prosecutor. ‘Border Force officers informed him that they were going to have his suitcases x-rayed and that two of them contained a large quantity of cigarettes, 83,600. The duty evaded was £28,530.17.

Onyemenam claimed that he was carrying the cigarettes for his cousin and that he made no financial profit from the scheme.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said Onyemenam, who has no prior convictions, stood by his claim that he was transporting for his cousin and made no financial gain.

Mr Kennedy continued: ‘It was an opportunistic, one-time offence.

Nigerian man arrested for trying to smuggle 83,000 cigarettes

However, the claims were not accepted by District Judge Jayne Bryan, who told Onyemenam, “I don’t take what you’re saying at face value.”

The judge continued: “You are going to have to testify to what you claim. This is what we call a question trial and it will decide on what basis you will be sentenced.

“You will have an unconditional bond to return to this court on this date and at this time. If you do not appear, a warrant could be issued against you.

Onyemenam is due back in court on May 3.

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