CHICAGO (CN) – The alleged drug kingpin featured in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” cannot sue the U.S. government for having agents present during an unsuccessful attempt to arrest and extradite him from Nigeria, the Seventh Circuit ruled Monday.
Piper Kerman, the writer behind the hit Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black,” based the drama on her stint in federal prison for smuggling heroin.
A central figure in Kerman’s story is the Nigerian drug kingpin who moved millions of dollars worth of heroin through O'Hare International Airport during the 1990s.
This man, alleged to be Buruji Kashamu, is still at large after beating an attempt by the United States to extradite him from Britain. He claims prosecutors have mistaken him for his now-deceased brother, who he says was the real mastermind of the drug ring.
In 2015, Kashamu was elected senator of the southwestern Ogun state in his native country of Nigeria. He is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, and ally of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Kashamu made headlines Sunday in Nigerian papers by declaring a leader of his party a “loud mouth” unfit to serve as chairman.
It is not clear when the U.S. filed an extradition request, but Nigeria’s drug agency said its efforts to apprehend Kashamu in 2015 were based on a request from the U.S.
In his third attempt to dismiss charges against him, Kashamu filed a federal complaint claiming that agents of Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, allegedly in concert with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, laid siege to his home for six days in 2015 in an attempt to abduct him to the U.S. Kashamu thwarted their attempt by hiding in his bathroom for a week until a Nigerian court ordered agents to leave the premises.
“The Mansfield Amendment is explicit in not prohibiting an employee of the United States, provided he has the approval of the United States chief of mission, from ‘being present when foreign officers are effecting an arrest or from assisting foreign officers who are effecting an arrest,’” Judge Richard Posner said, writing for the panel. “The conduct of which Kashamu complains – that U.S. agents actively participated in an attempt by Nigerian agents to arrest him – was thus lawful.” (Emphasis in original.)
One of Kashamu's co-defendants was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and several other people involved, such as Kerman, also served prison time. Kashamu could face an even longer sentence if he was indeed the ringleader of the conspiracy.
Kashamu has also filed suit in Nigerian courts, claiming that former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo engineered the plot to abduct him for political gain.
He won dismissal of the extradition suit when a Nigerian court ruled that the siege of Kashamu’s residence was illegal because Nigerian authorities could not show they entered his home legally.
Kashamu’s attorney, Chirag Badlani with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, did not respond to a request for comment.
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