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General News of Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Source: Media-Newswire.com

FBI Fugitive Bank Robber Arrested in Ghana

Newark, NJ—Today, Special Agent In Charge Weysan Dun announced that Edmund Osei ( also known as Jamal Michaels ), age 32, a citizen of Accra North in the Republic of Ghana was arrested early this morning by the Ghanaian Police pursuant to an FBI warrant charging Osei with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The federal charge was filed in connection with Osei’s failure to appear for a January 10, 2000 arraignment to answer a New Jersey State indictment for numerous violations that included seven counts of first degree armed robbery, eight counts of terroristic threats, three counts of hindering apprehension, and seven counts of possession of an imitation firearm -all felonies under the laws of New Jersey.

Osei, a former poker dealer, had originally been arrested by New Jersey authorities on July 29, 1999 for an armed robbery in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Through subsequent investigation, state authorities determined Osei was allegedly responsible for a total of seven armed robberies in Atlantic City to include six casinos and a bank.

According to the state indictment, the casinos involved included Showboat, Resorts, Tropicana, and Bally’s Park Place Wild Wild West Casino, in addition to a branch of Commerce Bank. The seven robberies occurred between May 19, 1999 and the day of his apprehension on July 29, 1999. Osei posted bail in October of 1999 and was released. The State of New Jersey returned a 25 count indictment against him shortly thereafter. When Osei failed to show up for his arraignment in January of 2000, a warrant was issued for his arrest and his bail was revoked. Law enforcement later determined that Osei fled the state of New Jersey and on February 8, 2000, the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice made a formal request of the FBI to assist in locating and apprehending their fugitive.

With the assistance of New Scotland Yard in Great Britain, FBI agents overseas were able to locate Osei in Accra North, Ghana in April of 2009. The long diplomatic process to arrange the arrest of Osei began and was completed last week. Once the FBI Legal Attaché in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa, confirmed the identity of Osei, an arrest plan was formulated. Osei was taken into custody this morning without incident by Ghanaian Police. The arrest was a concerted effort organized by the FBI’s Newark Division, Atlantic City Resident Agency, the FBI Legal Attaché in Freetown, the Ghanaian Police, the United States Embassy – Accra, the British High Commission, Interpol, the United State Department of Justice – Office of Internal Affairs, the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice, and the New Jersey State Police and Division of Gaming Enforcement. Extradition proceedings will begin and Osei will ultimately face the charges of the October 1999 indictment in New Jersey.

“There aren’t many better examples of international law enforcement cooperation than this,” said Weysan Dun. “Beginning with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, extending through the FBI in New Jersey and abroad, through New Scotland Yard, and finally ending with law enforcement in Ghana, the grasp of justice around Mr. Osei got tighter and tighter until he couldn’t escape. The original charges he faced were for very violent behavior that threatened the safety of everyone around him, regardless if he was in the U.S. or abroad. Today, the world is a little bit safer because of the international teamwork of law enforcement. I extend my congratulations to all for a job well done.”

“We are grateful to the FBI for their tenacity and thoroughness in tracking down and apprehending this fugitive, who has been wanted for nearly a decade for seven armed robberies in Atlantic City,” said New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. “Those who commit serious crimes in New Jersey cannot escape the reach of the law by crossing state borders or even international borders.”

It is unknown exactly how long the extradition of Osei will take. He will remain in the custody of authorities in Ghana until such time as he is released to the United States.