A smooth African scam artist, dubbed ‘Precious Max’ whose real name is Precious Chineme Nwoko who used an online dating scam to trick women into smuggling heroin for an international drug cartel will spend 27 years in prison after losing his appeal.
Revealing details of the how he was caught, Dailymail reported that the Nigerian national is part of an active elaborate international drug smuggling syndicate that uses online dating to lure women into unwittingly moving drugs, according to Fairfax Media and The Feed.
Through his online dating tricks using platforms such as Facebook, Tagged, Badoo and Twoo, he lured dozens – possibly many more – of women across the globe. He enticed interested women looking for a partner by sharing photos of his muscular physique in swimming pools and bars, with the promise of love and business.
A convicted drug trafficker and fraudster, Precious used fake photos of offices and fake passports to fool victims of his Khmer Arts and Craft business.
Before he was jailed, the mirage of dealing arts and crafts was used to augment his ‘wine and dining’ of women in an attempt to trick them into smuggling drugs, including heroin, out of Cambodia. One of the unidentified women Precious conned was luckily not prosecuted.
After meeting online, the woman travelled to Phnom Penh to meet the scam artist posing as a South African businessman in the import and export trades.
After four days Precious proposed to the woman on the day she was to return to Melbourne with samples from his business for an Australian associate.
Upon arriving in Melbourne, Customs found two kilograms of heroin sewn into a compartment and after realising what had happened she collapsed in shock.
She was not prosecuted and the case was dropped in 2015, with authorities agreeing she was tricked by Precious.
Another Australian was a Queensland mother who was sentenced to 23 years in a Cambodian jail after 2.2kg of heroin was found in her bag by Cambodian authorities. She will now serve the sentence.
Yoshe Ann Taylor was arrested at Phnom Penh airport in September 2013 and has since spent three years behind bars, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
The 44-year-old was the unwitting victim of ‘Precious Max’ who this time supposedly posed as an arts and crafts dealer. The relationship between the pair was well developed as ‘Precious Max’ created an online relationship with Taylor for one year. Nwoko then offered to pay for Taylor’s airline ticket to travel to Cambodia once a certain level of trust was established.
It was during Taylor’s third trip to country when Nwoko asked her to take some artworks back to Australia in her backpack.
However Taylor did not get far after she was caught at the airport by Cambodia police who were tipped with information provided by Australian Federal Police, claim the publication.
Nwoko was arrested shortly after Taylor in Cambodia. Nwoko and the woman appealed their conviction which was heard today.
In its ruling today, the court dashed his hope as it upheld the 27 years imprisonment handed to him in 2014. The Cambodian Court ruled that his sentence was appropriate and in accordance with Cambodia law. The court also upheld the prison terms slammed on the Frenchwoman, and Australian.
The trio were all convicted for trying to smuggle heroin to Australia.