Monday, October 27, 2014
Nigerian drug baron on the run nabbed in Ireland after 14 years of manhunt
A man believed to be originally from Nigeria who was sentenced to 20 years jail in Italy on drugs trafficking charges has been living in Dublin and working as a taxi driver in Ireland.
After a major international manhunt, Yemi Moshood Olatunde (47) was picked up by garda officers from the force’s extradition unit and he appeared in the High Court last week
He was sentenced for conspiring with other Nigerian nationals in relation to a multi-million euro cocaine trafficking conspiracy in Naples almost 14 years ago.
But while he has been one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives, he has been living in Tallaght under a false name and operating a taxi business as well as raising a young family.
Yemi Moshood Olatunde maintained he had been arrested in a case of mistaken identity when gardai detained him last Tuesday.
However, the High Court ruled that fingerprint evidence shows he is the man being sought by Italian authorities. Olatunde’s lawyers had argued that the evidence sent by Interpol was inadmissible.
However Mr Justice John Edwards remanded him in custody pending full extradition proceedings after gardai gave evidence that his prints were an “exact match” for the man named on the European Extardition Warrant.
Gardai told the court that Olatunde, of Sundale Parade, Tallaght, Dublin had been living under a number of different aliases in Ireland.
Det Sgt Sean Fallon told the interlocutory hearing that when he was arrested at 12.25pm at Tallaght Garda Station, the respondent insisted he was Roy Yemmy Andrew Aro. His prints were taken and they matched those of Olatunde.
The court heard the respondent had been in Ireland for eight years and had “significant interactions” with the gardai. He had been fingerprinted more than once.
The respondent was adamant he was not Olatunde and had a driving licence and PSV licence under the name of Roy Yemmy Andrew Aro.
He also told gardai he no longer lived in Tallaght and that he had an address in the city centre but refused to provide this address. He said Olatunde was a tribal name but not his.
Kieran Kelly BL, for the respondent, argued that the fingerprint and photographic evidence supporting the European Arrest Warrant had not come through the proper channels.
It came from Interpol in Rome and he argued it should have been submitted by or on behalf of the issuing judicial authority – in this case, the Italian public prosecutor.
A MOTHER-of-six who is the wife of Olatunde was also arrested earlier last week following an international manhunt.
Both maintained they were arrested in cases of mistaken identity but the High Court heard their fingerprints were “absolute matches” for the couple being sought by Interpol.
Mr Justice John Edwards remanded Ahmed in custody yesterday after making the same order in the case of her husband on Wednesday.
He said he was satisfied the woman before the court and Aisha Ahmed were “one and the same person”, despite her denials.
The couple’s cases have been adjourned pending full extradition proceedings.
Keiran Kelly BL, for the respondent, had argued that the identification documents – fingerprints and a photograph – were not admissible in evidence.
Ahmed’s arrest hearing was told the respondent was a naturalised Irish citizen and had been living under the name of Gloria Aro at Sundale Parade, Tallaght. Her husband had been living under the name Roy Yemmy Andrew Aro.
Ahmed’s sentence was for the offence of, as promoter, leader or organiser, taking part in an association with the purposes of committing an indefinite number of crimes involving the importation, sale, distribution, trade and illicit possession of “remarkable quantities” of cocaine at locations in Italy between 1999 and 2000.
She had been given a 22-year sentence in 2005 which was later reduced to 20 years.
The court heard a diffusion document – requesting the location and arrest of Ahmed – was sent to the Irish authorities by Interpol in Italy.
Attached were her fingerprints and a her photograph.
Sergeant Jim Kirwan told the court when he went to the respondents’ home address on Thursday, she was not at home and he left his card with her family.
He returned yesterday in possession of a European Arrest Warrant and spoke to Ahmed. When asked her name she said she was Gloria Aro and denied that she was also known as Aisha Ahmed.
She gave a date of birth in December 1967 and said she was Nigerian but told him she had never lived in Italy.