Four arrested in Kenya over drug syndicate linked to U.S.

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2014 1:15 PM

MOMBASA Kenya (Reuters) - Four people were arrested in Kenya's Indian Ocean port of Mombasa on suspicion of trafficking huge quantities of heroin to the United States, police said on Monday without giving the precise value or quantity of the drugs.

There has been a surge in the volume of heroin trafficked through east Africa in recent years, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says, with Mombasa, the region's biggest port, cited as a major transit point for narcotics and other contraband.

Heroin is typically transported from Pakistan and Iran to east Africa, which is known for its porous borders and weak maritime surveillance, and onwards to Europe.

Hamisi Masha, an investigator attached to Kenya's anti-narcotics unit, told a court hearing that the four suspects had been linked to 98 packets of heroin seized in the capital Nairobi, and that they were also wanted by U.S. authorities.

Two suspects were Kenyans and two were Indian nationals.

Masha said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Kenyan police were jointly investigating a trans-national drug syndicate operating between Kenya and the United States.

(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by James Macharia and Mark Heinrich)