Nollywood Diaspora | 23 May 2010 22:41 CET

Nigerian faces deportation in US over pirated DVDs


An illegal immigrant, in Chicago on a student visa, faces deportation after being charged in an international illegal DVD operation -- the largest, most structured of its type uncovered in Cook County, officials said.

Akpezi Mokedi, 34, was arrested and charged May 11 with unlawful use of unidentified sound or audio/visual recording after officers seized about 6,500 pirated DVDs from her apartment in the 5800 block of North Sheridan on May 10.

Mokedi, a Nigerian national who came to Chicago in 2001 and received her degree in 2007, was getting caseloads of DVDs daily from an illegal overseas operation, according to the Cook County sheriff's office. She specialized in boxed sets of television shows such as ''Lost,'' ''Criminal Minds'' and ''House,'' but also carried exercise, music and history box sets, and sold the items through Internet accounts, officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office agents tipped off sheriff's investigators to the illegal operation. The agents had been flagging and seizing many of the boxes shipped to Mokedi but missed some due to the high volume involved, they said.

She priced the items, which were sent from China, near their retail value to avoid suspicion, authorities said.

Sheriff's police set up a delivery to Mokedi's apartment on May 10 and found three computers and 25 shipped boxes of illegal DVDs addressed to her. Police also found a key to a storage facility that had been emptied before authorities raided it.

After she quickly posted 10 percent of her $10,000 bond, ICE agents nabbed Mokedi, who is to be deported later this week, the sheriff's office said.

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