NASHUA — A homeless man who was the victim of a human trafficking scheme that brought young African men to the United States with the promise of basketball careers has been arrested in the Gate City — the latest in a string of criminal offenses for the Nigerian immigrant.
Clifford Etadafimue, 21, has been living in a homeless shelter for the past several weeks and has had multiple run-ins with police in Nashua and Manchester since September.
The imposing 7-foot-2 man’s latest arrest was early Wednesday morning. Sgt. Adalberto Garcia of the Nashua Police Department says he witnessed Etadafimue “tear a street sign from a pole and throw it,” according to court documents on file at the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division.
Etadafimue was arrested for criminal mischief by officer Nicholas Markarian.
“Clifford refused to stand and enter the rear of the van. After several minutes and multiple orders for Clifford to enter the van, myself and other officers picked Clifford up and assisted him into the rear of the van,” Markarian says in court records.
It took 10 police officers to move the 350-pound Etadafimue into booking. He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest for refusing to cooperate.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported earlier this week, prior to his arrest Wednesday, that Etadafimue is one of 75 teens and young men from foreign countries enrolled in North Carolina’s Evelyn Mack Academy who migrated to that state to play basketball, according to a federal indictment filed in Charlotte, N.C.
City police state in court documents that they are concerned for Etadafimue’s safety, noting he is having increased contact with police, has potential mental health issues and suffers from a medical condition that requires the use of a glucose meter.
Within the past several months, Etadafimue has been arrested about five times in Manchester and faces charges of criminal trespass alleging that he repeatedly refused to leave the Manchester City Library and Elliot Hospital emergency room because he was homeless and cold.
In one instance, Manchester police used an electric stun gun on Etadafimue after he allegedly failed to comply with police during an arrest at the city library.
Since moving to the United States, Etadafimue has played basketball in several states, but eventually made his way to New Hampshire where he is now on the streets and was most recently working at a McDonald’s.
The New Hampshire Union Leader has learned that Evelyn Mack, the founder of the Evelyn Mack Academy where Etadafimue is enrolled, ships students off to other schools that provide her with money because they lack her U.S. Department of Homeland Security approvals to issue paperwork leading to F-1 visas for student-athletes, according to the indictment.
Etadafimue was arraigned Thursday in a Nashua courtroom and is expected to be back in court on Feb. 25 for a pretrial conference.
Union Leader staff reporter Mark Hayward contributed to this report.