Buruji Kashamu is a Nigerian politician representing Ogun East senatorial district in the current 8th National Assembly. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on States and Local Government in Ogun State. Senator Kashamu is the Chairman/Chief Executive of Kasmal Group of Companies, an indigenous conglomerate with interests in hospitality, property, oil and gas, automobile and investment services. He is also the Chairman of the Group Kasmal SAL in the Republic of Benin.
However, Senator Kashamu is not only famous for his political and business accomplishments, he is also known as the drug lord wanted in the United States for heading a heroin trafficking ring in 1998. His role in the drug trafficking ring inspired the Netflix hit show ‘Orange Is The New Black’ based on the prison memoir of US citizen Piper Kerman, who was among those who pleaded guilty to the heroin trafficking charge allegedly led by Senator Kashamu. He was under the disguise of having made money from producing Kasmal, a cigarette brand, in the Republic of Benin, when he was arrested in the United Kingdom with $230,000 in cash. He claimed that his 1998 indictment by a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin in the US was a case of mistaken identity, also claiming that the person involved in the alleged offenses, to which a dozen people pleaded guilty, was his deceased younger brother, who had a close resemblance with him. The Senator maintained that the UK court saw that the US had withheld evidence that a principal conspirator in the said drug importation had been unable to identify him in a photo lineup and on that basis denied a request from the US for his extradition in 2003 and released him after spending five years in prison.
Senator Kashamu was also said to have used forged educational qualifications to contest and win election to the Nigerian Senate in 2015. In 2016, Judge Richard Posner of the Chicago Court of Appeal quoted the US Justice Department saying that the chances of Senator Kashamu’s extradition had improved. It was also added that if it is proved that Senator Kashamu was the ringleader of the heroin cartel, he could face up to life imprisonment, challenging the Senator to come to Chicago to prove his innocence in court. Meanwhile, the Senator still maintains his innocence even claiming that he has never stepped foot in the United States.
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