Kenyan police seize drugs at JKIA

May 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – More than 50 kilograms of hashish and bhang have been seized at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Police said the drugs seized on Monday were stuffed in 53 cartons which arrived from South Africa labeled as maize seeds.

Anti-narcotics detectives at the airport were on Wednesday still waiting for the owner of the cargo to show up.

“We were hoping someone will come for the cargo on Tuesday but it seems they have sensed danger.  We are still waiting,” a senior detective there said.

Another officer attached to the anti-narcotics department which monitors drugs movement at the airport told Capital News “there is a team out there trying to trace the origin of the drugs.”

“We are using the address labeled on the cargo to get the owners; this will also help in getting the sender of the cargo from its origin,” the officer said.

Airport police commandant Philip Tuimur said: “Detectives are pursuing very good leads which will lead us to the traffickers.”

“It is just a matter of time before we get them,” he said. Police were also working with their counterparts in South Africa. Detectives at the airport said the recovery of hashish was the first to be recorded this year.

Most common cases have previously included cocaine and heroine.

Hashish is the compressed stalked resin glands called trichomes, collected from the cannabis plant.

It contains the same active ingredients as bhang but in higher concentrations than other parts of the plant such as the buds or the leaves. It is often a paste-like substance with varying hardness and pliability and its colour can vary from green, yellow, black, reddish brown, or most commonly light to dark brown.

“It is an interesting scenario to have bhang trafficked from South Africa all the way to Kenya, because bhang is readily available locally. It is a matter that needs to be thoroughly investigated,” another officer at the anti-narcotics department said.

Police said the change of tactic by the traffickers to send in drugs in cargo planes was a result of stringent measures put in place at the airport, including the use of modern day technology and an increase in the number of sniffer dogs specifically trained on drug detection.

This has significantly reduced the number of drug trafficking cases at the JKIA.

Previously, drug traffickers found with cocaine and heroine have been carrying it as personal luggage.

“We are on a very high alert, whoever tries to smuggle drugs at our airports will have to face the law. We are making tremendous success in detection,” Erick Kiraithe, the Police Spokesman said.


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