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Heroin suspects to face charges Monday

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Six suspects arrested in Mombasa with a consignment of 196 kilograms of heroin whose value has now been revised to Sh392 million were whisked to Nairobi on Friday and arraigned in court but they didn\’t plead to drug trafficking charges.

This was after failure to secure an interpreter for one of the accused person who only speaks Persian.

A police helicopter carrying the suspects and the drugs brought them to Nairobi shortly before 2 pm amid tight security.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere, CID director Muhoro Ndegwa led a team of senior officers who met the suspects and the haul amid massive security from heavily armed General Service Unit (GSU) officers.

The suspects who include three Kenyans, two Iranians and a Pakistani were handcuffed and sat pensively in the plane as GSU officers offloaded the drug consignment which was spread on the runway at the Wilson airport.

The drugs were concealed in 98 sachets disguised as dog food which were packed in two gunny bags all weighing 196 Kilograms.

"You can see even the way they are packaged, they are disguised as dog food to ensure they evade police drag nets, but their days were numbered. They have to answer for their crimes," the Police chief told reporters at the Wilson airport.

Mr Iteere told journalists that detectives had been monitoring the suspects since Wednesday when they rented an apartment in Shanzu, north of Mombasa where they wanted to keep the drugs before they transported the haul elsewhere.

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"They had only stayed in the apartment for a day, and last [Thursday] night they took the drugs there, our officers had information and they intercepted them," he added.

He identified the suspects as Josh Omondi (Kenyan), Hassan Ibrahim (Kenyan), Yusuf Hassan (Kenyan), Ali Muhammed (Iranian), Abdul Baseet (Iranian) and Khan Mohamed (Pakistani).

"The six suspects will be charged in court today [Friday] with offences relating to drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms because they were found with two pistols and 59 rounds of ammunition," he said.

Mr Iteere also displayed high frequency communication gadgets including GPS gadget which were recovered from the suspects during the raid.

"We do suspect that may be there was ship anchored somewhere in the deep seas within Mtwapa or Kilifi area that is why they had an item known as a GPS receiver so that they could be able to know the position where they were when they are at sea," he added.

The suspects were travelling in two vehicles which were also impounded by the police and towed to the Central Police station in Mombasa.

Mr Iteere said the operation to arrest and recover the drugs was conducted by officers drawn from the anti narcotics unit, the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU), Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) and a team from the office of the Coast Provincial Police chief Aggrey Adoli.

"Once again we wish to reiterate our commitment to the public to ensure that drug abuse and the illicit drug trade become a thing of the past in this country," he warned.

"Those who want to quit the drug trade should do it now, and not tomorrow," he added.

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Mr Iteere told journalists once the suspects are charged, an investigation will continue to establish the source of the drugs, their actual destination and key players.

"The immediate target is to identify arrest and prosecute every person involved in this criminal offence," he said.

"Our overall intention is to completely break any syndicates by dismantling their local and international networks."

In the last quarter of last year, President Mwai Kibaki ordered the Police Commissioner to restructure the Anti Narcotic Unit to ensure it effectively deals with the drug menace in the country.

The restructuring process was subsequently done and Sebastian Ndaru appointed to head the unit which led Thursday night\’s sting operation.

Last month a team appointed by the Police chief carried out an investigation and handed a report to Internal Security Professor George Saitoti who tabled it in Parliament.

The report exonerated four MPs the Minister had named in Parliament as having been under investigation for drug trafficking allegations. The Minister however told Parliament an investigation was going on to unmask the real culprits.

Mr Iteere told a parliamentary committee on Administration and National Security that Kenyan detectives were working closely with investigators from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from America.

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