- The seven members of the Black Axe arrested in Cape Town face the prospect of extradition to the US
- The men are allegedly raked in millions of dollars from illicit online schemes over a span of 10 years
- Social media users have been vocal on the matter and are backing the move for an extradition
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South Africans on social media are behind calls for the seven Nigerian nationals alleged to have involvement in a multi-million dollar financial fraud scheme to stand trial on US soil.
The men aged 35 to 47 were arrested following a massive multi-national joint operation between the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Hawks and the Federal Bureau of Investigators (FBI) in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The law enforcement task team are understood to have simultaneously raided several addresses in Cape Town before nabbing all the members of the highly organised Nigerian transnational crime group.
The US department of justice (US DOJ) claims the group ran a sophisticated online dating and a business email compromise scam operation from South Africa for the last 10 years dating back to 2011.
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Group faces up to 42 years in prison
The lucrative operation targeted unsuspecting victims from across the globe and has raked in hundreds of millions of rand.
Briefly News understands the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday heard that the group now faces possible extradition to the US.
Reports suggest they face a real prospect of being slapped with up to 42 years in a US federal prison if convicted on all charges relating to their illicit crimes.
Mounting calls for extradition
Curious onlookers on social media have backed the move by the US DOJ to move forward with extradition proceedings.
Briefly News takes a look at some of the notable reactions to the development.
@Claudell Samuels wrote:
"Let's hope they don't get out of jail and leave the country before his extradition to America cos in South Africa anything can happen."
@Jeremy Wayne Arries said:
"Please come to arrest all involved in state capture, Zuma first and those involved in stealing the 5bill for covid relief, pretty please? The cases here take forever!!"
@Sothandokuhle Soso added:
"In SA, their cases will be postponed until God knows when ... So I would prefer for South African Government to ship them to the US."
@Luis Guerreiro expressed:
"The bribe-takers must be disappointed this would have been a good opportunity for them. At least they can go eat hot dogs in jail in the US."
@Leon Barries Bernard noted:
"They will actually get proper jail time there. Here the ANC will give them R200 bail and lose the dockets and then ask for training on how to steal more."
'Romance scams': Hawks and US officials bust Nigerian mafia operating in Cape Town
In a recently published news story, Briefly News reported that a joint operation between the Hawks and US law enforcement officials led to the arrest of suspected leaders of a mafia gang.
Those arrested are believed to be part of the Black Axe and were apprehended following a raid in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.
According to TimesLIVE, a total of six leaders as well as another person who is not a leader were taken into custody by officials.
An eighth individual was also arrested by the officials and is believed to have connections with the group.
The mafia gang is known for being involved in 'romance scams' in which they target elderly men and women – via dating sites – who have been widowed or divorced to defraud them of their money.
Source: Briefly News