Felix Okafor was sentenced on April 10, to 263 years in federal prison for drugs and weapons distribution, sales and money laundering.
Felix, 53, migrated to the United States in 1981. He was part of the mass exodus of young Nigerians to foreign nations in the early 80s. Those were the days of uneasy living which drove young Nigerians to seek survival in faraway lands such as United States, Europe, the then USSR, the Scandinavian and Asia, specifically, India. Okafor was one of the young Nigerians privileged to go West in search of exciting challenges. In 1981, he relocated to Raleigh North Carolina and settled into a slow paced southern life style.Okafor got admitted into this university in the early eighties, majoring in business administration.
After his college education, Okafor created small businesses through his single life passages: the small businesses included Laundromat, vending machines for snacks and sodas. By mid 90s, Okafor married and moved from the city of Raleigh to country town of Zebulon. He also opened a used car sales shop, shuttling between his businesses and family.
Mid millennium, Okafor diversified his business: he purchased a convenience store in another small town, Benson, located along one of the busiest major network road links of United States: route I-95 South. From his new location, Okafor provided neighbours with convenience of daily groceries shopping in his grocery store, Flying Eagles Groceries.
An anonymous resident of the neighbourhood described the store and its owner as ‘always selling us expired groceries and food stuff. He had expired candy bars on the candy racks and that place seemed unorganised and dirty. The aisles were always empty, just few items to pick from. There were candy bars that had expired since 2007. That man was fronting with his store. We suspected he was cooking something else and selling it. He got caught at last.”
The daily human traffic activities of the store attracted neighbourhood curiosity. Strange people came with expensive cars parked outside. These activities inside a store filled with expired candy bars and lousy inventories, attracted strangers to the community at odd hours. Residents became concerned about the safety of their properties, lives and families with the influx of strange people to a small store. Soon, the spectacle attracted federal, state and local authorities who began undercover operations and purchases of drugs from Okafor’s store. He was under surveillance for 10 months and federal undercover operations did drug and weapons transactions directly with Okafor. On Wednesday, January 11, 2011, drug enforcement agents raided his store and arrested him. Narcotic officers conducted 10 ‘undercover drug buys’ of heroin and prescription pills 10 months before the raid. He faced a maximum of 560 years.
He was tried for four days before a jury convicted him on July 12, 2013 of all 53 count charges.
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