14 Years in the Pen for ‘Witch Doctor’ to Narcos

     BEAUMONT, Texas (CN) – A Nigerian witch doctor was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiring to smuggle drugs connected to providing his cohorts with magical and “supernatural” protection from cops, federal prosecutors said.
     Christopher Omigie, 58, of Lafayette, Louisiana, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine this past October.
     Omigie had also faced one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, according to a September 2013 criminal indictment. He could have received up to life in federal prison and $4 million in fines on each of the conspiracy counts and up to 20 years and $500,000 in fines on the money laundering count.
     Prosecutors said Omigie presented himself to drug traffickers as a witch doctor and was paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to give supernatural protection from law enforcement.
     “Omigie was consulted by drug traffickers in the Cesar Barrera and David Bazan drug trafficking organizations on a daily basis and before, during and after each drug transaction,” prosecutors said Thursday. “The supernatural protections rendered involved card readings, massages (by Omigie) with magic ointments, cutting of the skin with razor blades and the topical application of magic powder, the use of magic amulets, magic belts, magic coconuts and magic rocks (that those being treated were required to talk to).”
     Prosecutors said Omigie required smugglers to not bathe or have sex for a period of time following his magic treatments to “not diminish the potency” of his work.
     “Magic ‘law stay-away’ candles were also burned in order to protect drug traffickers from law enforcement detection,” prosecutors said. “Omigie would regularly return to Africa, at drug traffickers’ expense, to re-new his supernatural powers.”
     Barrera and Bazan have each pleaded guilty for scheming to traffic over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.
     Omigie’s attorney, Jonathan D. Goins in Houston, criticised federal prosecutors for calling his client a “witch doctor.”
     “Mr. Omigie is a Nigerian tribal chief, a title he inherited from his father, and he is a native doctor,” Goins said in an email on Thursday. “The term ‘witch doctor’ is both pejorative and wrong.”
     Goins said his client had a “minimal” role in the drug scheme and that his sentence is “greatly out of proportion.”
     “While Mr. Omigie was involved in this drug scheme, he was not a major figure in this, and in fact his involvement was extremely limited and minor,” he said.

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