Benin ‘Chicken King’ Probed Over Cocaine Seizure in Shipment

Benin set up a special investigative committee to probe a shipment from Brazil that contained 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of cocaine and led to the arrest of a wealthy businessman who came in third in presidential elections earlier this year.

Authorities arrested Sebastien Ajavon on Oct. 28 following the discovery of the drugs in a container with turkey gizzards imported by his company, Cajaf-Comon. Ajavon, who heads the national employers’ association, amassed millions of dollars selling frozen chicken and is known as the ‘chicken king.’

“For reasons of efficiency and consistency in the conduct of the investigation, a joint judicial commission of inquiry has been set up,” state prosecutor Badirou Lawani told reporters late Monday in the commercial capital, Cotonou.

“Serious and corroborating evidence” against Ajavon and three of his agents means they will remain in custody during the investigation, he said.

Jacques Migan, a lawyer for Ajavon, said by phone that the arrest was arbitrary and “a violation of human rights.” Ajavon told reporters before his arrest Friday that he’s innocent and that there’s a conspiracy against him.

Cajaf-Comon is the West African nation’s biggest importer by sea in terms of volume, according to its website.

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