British national charged in Kenya with trafficking cocaine

AP News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2016 8:10 AM
British national charged in Kenya with trafficking cocaine

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan police charged a British national Thursday with trafficking nearly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of cocaine that was impounded last week at the country's main seaport.

Jack Alexander Wolf Marrian denied the charge in court. The prosecution opposed bail, saying he is a flight risk. The court will rule on the bail application Monday.

A Kenyan, Roy Francis Mwanthi, was charged separately with trafficking the cocaine. It was not clear what happened to a third suspect, also Kenyan, who police had questioned earlier. The maximum penalty for drug trafficking in Kenya is a life sentence and a fine of more than $10,000.

The drugs were seized last week by Kenyan police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials in containers from Brazil supposedly carrying sugar destined for Uganda.

The seizure was a rare one in Kenya, which the U.N. and the U.S. say has become a cocaine distribution hub in recent years. Traffickers from South America are said to take advantage of Nairobi's extensive air links to Europe and Asia.

Traffickers also exploit Kenya's long Indian Ocean coastline and lack of adequate security controls at the port of Mombasa, the State Department's 2016 drug control strategy report says.

Stemming this flow of drugs is a challenge for Kenyan authorities, the report says, citing "corruption within the Kenyan government and business community ... High-level prosecutions or large seizures remain infrequent."

For more than a decade, Kenya's police have been named annually by the local chapter of the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International as the most corrupt institution in the country.