ABOVE: The lion of Alberton. Image by: Alon Skuy
An international drug kingpin has been jailed for an effective 30 years – the first time a narcotics dealer has been convicted in South Africa of racketeering.
Nsofor’s arrest in 2009 was the culmination of Operation LA – short for Lion of Alberton. Part of the operation involved a police reservist going undercover for 18 months during which time he bought illegal drugs from Nsofor on four occasions. His undercover work became a Hawks operation.
A police informant working for Nsofor travelled to Sao Paulo, in Brazil, to collect a painting in which 1.5kg of pure cocaine was concealed.
During the trial, prosecutor Johan Badenhorst argued that Nsofor was at the centre of a large business enterprise with ties to international drugs syndicates.
He said the drug kingpin had targeted pupils at Parklands High School, near his cellphone shop.
For the four drug sales in the sting, Zakwe sentenced Nsofor to 40 years; 20 years for the purchase of cocaine in Sao Paulo and 20 years for racketeering. He was also sentenced to 12 months for immigration violations.
Nsofor denied he was a drug dealer and claimed he had been rehabilitated and was a pastor in prison. But Zakwe drew attention to undercover footage that showed Nsofor praying for the safe arrival of his cocaine.