A Nigerian man believed to be the kingpin of a drug-smuggling operation was extradited to the US on Thursday to face drug trafficking charges, the Hawks said on Friday.
Edwin Anyaoku, 54, was arrested in Fourways, Johannesburg in July last year during a joint operation conducted by the Hawks' South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB) and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The operation also resulted in the seizure of 29kg of heroin worth more than R6m.
Two others were arrested with Anyaoku - alleged courier Lerato Mohai and suspected scout Christopher Okonkwo.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the investigation into the three started in 2017 when an undercover operation was set up.
The charges against Okonkwo were dropped in the Randburg Regional Court last year, but Mohai is expected to appear in court on July 16 and 17.
"An undercover operation was set where Anyaoku allegedly agreed to supply heroin. Anyaoku brought 29 kilograms of heroin and after the purchase, he was arrested together with Mohai and Okonkwo," said Mulaudzi.
"A request was received from the justice department of the United States of America for the extradition of Anyaoku late last year.
"The extradition hearing took place in December last year and Anyaoku decided to waive his right to appeal against the extradition. In April this year, the extradition was authorised by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (Michael Masutha at the time) and Anyaoku was extradited to the US with the assistance of the Pretoria Interpol office yesterday."