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Kenya charges six over heroin haul

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Police on Monday charged six suspects with trafficking in 102 kilograms of heroin worth Sh204 million in a Nairobi court.

The suspects were arrested in Mombasa on Thursday last week with the drugs which police initially said weighed 196kgs. They and were whisked to Nairobi on Friday morning and arraigned in court in the afternoon.

Josh Omondi (Kenyan), Hassan Ibrahim (Kenyan), Yusuf Hassan (Kenyan), Ali Muhammed (Iranian), Abdul Baseet (Iranian) and Khan Mohamed (Pakistani) denied trafficking in the drugs at Shanzu area of Mombasa County on March 24.
The three foreigners have also denied the charges of being in Kenya illegally. They were remanded at Kileleshwa police station until Thursday, March 31, to allow police to concluded investigations.

The case had initially been pushed to Monday for lack of a Persian interpreter for one of the foreign suspects.

The court has also directed that the suspects be taken to hospital for treatment after they claimed that they had been tortured by police investigators. A police helicopter carrying the suspects and the drugs brought them to Nairobi shortly before 2pm on Friday amid tight security.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and 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.

According to police the drugs were concealed in 98 sachets disguised as dog food which were packed in two gunny bags.

Mr Iteere had on Friday told journalists that detectives had been monitoring the suspects since Wednesday last week 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.

Mr Iteere also displayed high frequency communication gadgets including a GPRS gadget which was 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.

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.

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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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