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Former DEA Agent Convicted of Helping Nigerians Sneak into United States

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A former federal drug agent has been convicted of conspiracy to help Nigerian citizens sneak into the United States.

Eric Newton, 41, of upstate Newburgh, N.Y., was convicted Monday of conspiracy, making false statements and visa fraud for conducting the scheme for three months in the summer of 1999 and then lying about it, prosecutors said.

Newton, former deputy country attache at the Drug Enforcement Administration office in the U.S. embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, faces up to 10 years in prison after his conviction in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. It was unclear when he would be sentenced.

Prosecutors accused him of exploiting his position as a DEA agent by enabling private citizens who wanted to go to the United States for their own purposes to pose as Nigerian law enforcement officials to win entry.

Newton, who was responsible for fighting the flow of narcotics into the United States from West Africa, certified the documents of several Nigerian citizens to make it appear they were in law enforcement, prosecutors said.

A message left with Newton's lawyer was not immediately returned.

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