One of the UK’s most wanted fugitives has been returned to the UK to stand trial over the murder of an Essex man.
Nana Oppong, 43, from Newham in London, who featured in a National Crime Agency most wanted campaign, was stopped by officers from Morocco’s General Directorate for National Security in September 2022 at Tangier Port, after trying to enter the country using false documents.
He had travelled in the back of a lorry from Spain.
Oppong was escorted back to the UK by an extradition team from the NCA’s Joint International Crime Centre on Tuesday 20 June. He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was ordered to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court again this afternoon, where he was remanded in custody.
He was wanted by Essex Police in relation to the murder of 50-year-old Robert Powell, was shot eight times with a 9mm pistol outside a party in Water Lane, Roydon, Harlow, in June 2020.
Oppong was also wanted by the Metropolitan Police Service following an investigation into his alleged use of encrypted messaging platform Encrochat. Following close liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service and Essex Police, the Met secured further charges of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to enable others to endanger life, conspiracy to possess firearms, conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering.
Steve Reynolds, NCA regional manager in Spain, said: “Nana Oppong went to great lengths to evade capture by using false identity documents, but the NCA never gives up on finding fugitives wherever they try to hide.
“We have officers based all over the world, sharing intelligence and working with local law enforcement agencies to apprehend those on the run. Oppong has now been returned to the UK to face justice.”
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, of Essex Police, said: “Oppong’s arrest and extradition are the result of an excellent collaboration between Essex Police and our law enforcement colleagues around the world, and it doesn’t stop there.
“We’re working day and night to get justice for Robert’s family and all those who have lost a loved one to violent crime. We won’t stop until each and every suspect is located, questioned and ultimately brought before the courts.”
The UK’s Ambassador to Morocco, Simon Martin CMG, said: “The UK enjoys a very positive relationship with Morocco across many areas, including working in partnership to tackle serious organised crime.
“The return of this suspect to the UK to face trial on these serious charges is a tangible result of that partnership. I am grateful for the cooperation of our Moroccan partners.”
John Sheehan, Head of Extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The CPS extradition team has worked extensively with our partners – the National Crime Agency, Essex Police, Home Office and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – as well as our Moroccan counterparts in order to arrange for the return of Nana Oppong, so that he can face trial in our country.
“It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice the fairness of these proceedings.”