African Press International (API)

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Kenyans being fooled by Nigerian drug dealers end up in foreign jails and some even die there.

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

It is sad. Kenyans are being taken for a ride by the Nigerians who use them to ferry drugs for them. These Kenyans tarnish the name of the country by engaging in the trade for the simple reason – to earn big money forgetting when got they will not live to enjoy the money. API

How Nigerian barons lure Kenyans into drug trade


A man jailed for life in China on Friday is among more than 150 Kenyans who have been arrested in connection with drug trafficking around the world since 2004, according to anti-narcotics sources.

Nairobi City has been a major drug centre. Photo/FILE

Many, including students, are serving life sentences or could be executed, the authorities fear.

Kenyans are increasingly being lured to act as mules for West African mainly Nigerian drug syndicates, an anti-narcotics detective who cannot be named, said.

The Nigerian syndicates are aggressively targeting students, especially girls, who are asked to swallow sachets of drugs and hide others in their private parts, the officers said.

The fear is that the syndicates will destroy Kenyas image and the integrity of its passport and cause Kenyans abroad to be profiled and targeted.

Nigerian syndicates

The activities of the Nigerian syndicates, about which officers said they are having problems obtaining evidence, are getting out of hand and will likely gather pace with the expected introduction of direct flights from Nairobi to the United States.

The British minister of State responsible for Counter Terrorism and Narcotics, Kim Howells, who visited Kenya last year, said that Kenya has become a major transit point for drugs destined for Europe and America.

In 2005, British police gave their Kenyan counterparts a list of 40 suspected drug traffickers travelling between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and various British cities.

The number of Kenyans in custody could be greater because, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press division head Wachira Nyaga, Kenyan missions abroad do not keep records of citizens arrested on drug charges.

It is unfortunate that our missions do not keep records of Kenyans arrested or serving sentences on drug charges. This is because many Kenyans do not register with the embassies as required and only do so when seeking assistance after they encounter problems, Mr Nyaga said.

Nationality of suspects

He said that in most cases, police in other countries contact the missions to verify the nationality of suspects arrested while travelling on Kenyan passports.

The recent arrest of two Kenyan university students in Malaysia and the sentencing to life of another student in China are an indication of how serious drug trafficking has become.

Deborah Donde and Emily Gathoni were arrested by Malaysian police on suspicion of drug trafficking after they were found in a room in which four kilos of marijuana were seized.

The two Kenyan students, one a daughter of a former MP, were arrested along with a Saudi and an Eritrean in an apartment in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur.

The former MPs daughter was released for lack of evidence.

Twenty-six-year-old fourth year University of Nairobi student Olivia Singaniabe Munoko was sentenced to life in prison in China in 2006.

She was arrested in March 2006 at Guangzhous Bai Yui international airport in possession of 1.8 kg of heroin. She had just landed at the airport from Kuala Lumpur.

The large number of mule arrests has been attributed by the international community to Kenyas becoming a major drug trafficking hub in the region and the presence of international drug trafficking syndicates, especially from West Africa.

Drug barons have been recruiting couriers, especially young women, who are lured by the promise of large amounts of money and lavish lifestyles.

While some of the couriers are innocent young women who are either lured or blackmailed by the drug lords, some have become seasoned mules, criss-crossing the world in the service of drug lords.

In 2002 a Kenyan woman identified as Setteena Idris Abdalla was jailed for 20 years by a Mauritius court for trafficking in 1 kg of heroin.

Another Kenyan was charged in a Thai court with possession of 1.5 kg of cocaine.

Twenty-six-year-old Christopher Lake, who was arrested in a raid by police in a Bangkok apartment in September 2002, had sneaked in the drugs from the Netherlands.

Detectives recovered drugs, mobile phones and a list of customers.

Seven Kenya Airways employees are among those held abroad on drug charges. While some are serving terms, others died in foreign jails. Larry Ogwel, 30, died in a Mumbai jail in India while serving a 10-year sentence for trafficking in heroin.

Mr Ogwel had worked for Kenya Airways for about six years and was scheduled to wed two weeks before he was arrested.

He died less than a year after he was sentenced.

Emily Barasa, a Kenya Airways in-flight supervisor, was arrested in 2001 at Londons Heathrow Airport. She had just disembarked from flight KQ 102 in July 2001 when she was intercepted by British anti-narcotics officers who detected the drugs in her luggage. She has since served her jail term and returned home.

In 2003, two Kenyan businesswomen, Dorothy Manju Nzioki and her sister, Susan Kaluki Nzioki, who were wanted by US authorities on drug trafficking charges, were handed over to Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) detective Kevin Blair to face charges in the United States.

They were charged with smuggling heroin into the United States.

A Kenyan woman serving a jail term in Langata Womens prison travelled to the United States to testify against them.

Another Kenyan was arrested in London in 2005 with 5 kg of cocaine after disembarking from flight KQ 101. He was charged in court.

Then came 29-year-old Allan Choge, a son of the family of a prominent politician, who was arrested at Heathrow airport in April 2005 on KQ flight 101. He was accused of using his airline staff status to sneak in the 5 kg of high grade cocaine stashed in a travelling bag.

Lack of evidence

He was released two weeks later for lack of evidence and returned to Kenya. In August 2005 another KQ in-flight attendant, Nancy Waiguru, was arrested at Heathrow as she attempted to sneak in five kg of cocaine. Sniffer dogs picked out her travelling bag in which the drugs were discovered after the crew disembarked from the plane. She is now serving a five-year jail term in Britain.

Two months after Ms Waigurus arrest in London another KQ in-flight attendant was intercepted in Amsterdam with five kg of high grade cocaine. Her fate remains unknown.

She joined George Kiragu who was arrested in Amsterdam in December 2004 in connection with a seizure of 295 kg of cocaine by Dutch authorities.

The son of former Kirinyaga South MP Stephen Kiragu was arrested along with five Dutch nationals after Dutch detectives found the cocaine in a godown within Amsterdams Champagneweg 11 Te Zevenbergen area.

He was linked to the Sh6.4 billion cocaine haul that was seized by Kenyan authorities around the same time.

Although his younger brother, David Kiragu, has since been sentenced and fined Sh18 billion, Kenyan authorities maintain that Stephen Kiragu was the mastermind of the largest cocaine haul ever intercepted by detectives in Africa.

More Kenyan drug traffickers could be serving sentences around the world but are unknown to the government because of using fake documents or not registering with the embassies abroad.



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