Many of our Chicago readers have heard of the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” which tells the fictional story of a woman who is incarcerated in a federal prison for taking a suitcase filled with drug money to her former girlfriend, an international drug smuggler. The show has attracted a lot of support in its first season and is set to go on for a second season in 2014.
Behind the story is an actual federal drug case dating back to 1994 that still remains open. Although most of the 14 defendants targeted in the case have long been convicted, Buruji Kashamu, the Nigerian man who allegedly headed of the operation, has not yet been convicted. It isn’t clear whether he ever will be.
Kashamu was actually held in custody by British authorities for five years beginning in 1998, but the United Kingdom refused to extradite him after determining that the eyewitnesses that identified him had weak credentials. After being freed, Kashamu returned back to Nigeria. He argues that it is not he that American authorities are looking for, but his dead brother, known as Alajj.
Back in 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal in Chicago ruled that the indictment against Kashamu would not be dropped, and Americans authorities are still attempting to have Kashamu extradited. Time will tell whether that will happen.
Those who are charged with a drug crime owe it to themselves to work with an experienced attorney in building a strong defense. The higher the stakes in the case, the more important it is to work with an advocate that will ensure every possible legal protection.
Source: Osun Defender, “‘Orange is New Black’ drug case still open in Chicago federal court,” December 14, 2013.