Court Frees 11 Filipinos Accused Of Smuggling 13.65Kg of Cocaine into Nigeria

A Lagos Federal High Court, has freed 11 Filipinos, accused of unlawful importation of 13.65 Kilograms of Cocaine into the country.

The 11 Filipinos freed from the allegation were: Gerapusco Fidel; Antolin Reynante; Bechayoa Edgar; Voltaire Tejero, Kent Ryan; Bryan Kamos; Ralph Christopher; Maningo Dennis; Romnick Albarracin; Ervin Pabuaya and Quetua Judezar Servilla.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo who presided over court, freed the 11 men, after upholding their No-Case-Submission (NCS) filed and argued by their lawyers, who include; Femi Atoyebi, Babajide Koku, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and others.

The Filipinos were first arraigned before the court by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on May 31, 2022, alongside a vessel, MV. Karteria, used in smuggling the banned drug.

The prosecutors, Mrs. Theresa Asuqou, K. Adebajo and Fingere Owen Dennis, had told the court that the 11 Filipinos were arrested at GDNL Terminal Apapa Port, Lagos, on November 7, 2022, with the banned substance which they smuggled into the country from Brazil.

The prosecutors also told the court that the drug was concealed in the sugar imported from Brazil.

The prosecution had told the offences committed by the foreigners contravened sections 11(b) and 14(b);  of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and punishable under the same Act.

During the trial of the charges, the prosecution called six witnesses and also tendered several exhibits which includes, bulk of the seized drug, defendants’ statements, laboratory test analysis report, and others which were admitted by the court 

Upon conclusion of prosecution’s case, the defendants through their lawyers, instead of opening their defence, opted for No Case -Submission, which was vehemently opposed by the prosecution.

However, at the resumed ruling on the No-Case-Submission on Monday, Justice Oweibo, after legally analysed all submissions made by the defence team and prosecution, and cited plethoras of authorites, upheld the defendants’ No-Case-Submission.

The judge subsequently, discharged and acquitted all the 11 Filipinos of charges of conspiracy and unlawful possession of the banned substance.