A Nigerian who for years fought extradition to Texas has pleaded guilty to recruiting students in his homeland to internally smuggle heroin into the U.S.
Federal prosecutors in Houston say 45-year-old Koyode Lawrence of Lagos on Wednesday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance. Lawrence, who remains in custody pending sentencing, faces up to life in prison and a potential $5 million fine.
The case goes back to February 2001 when two men working for Lawrence were arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Authorities say the pair had swallowed packets of heroin being smuggled from Nigeria.
Prosecutors say Lawrence mainly recruited college students with dual U.S. and Nigerian citizenship.
Lawrence for nearly 10 years fought extradition but he was transferred to the U.S. in late 2013.