Kenya: Briton on cocaine trafficking charges gets bail

AP News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2016 7:22 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan judge Friday ruled that a British national and a Kenyan charged with trafficking nearly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of cocaine should be released on bail.

Jack Alexander Wolf Marrian should be released on bail of $690,000 cash, with two Kenyan sureties of similar amount.

Kenyan Roy Francis Mwanthi, who was charged separately with trafficking the cocaine, was released on a bond equaling $296,000.

High Court Judge Luka Kimaru ruled that the prosecution, which had appealed against a decision Monday by a Magistrates Court granting the two men bail, did not provide compelling reasons to hold Marrian in custody.

British media have reported that Marrian is the grandson of an aristocrat, the sixth Earl Cawdor.

Marrian and Mwanthi were arrested after Kenyan police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents impounded the drugs on July 27 in Mombasa, Kenya's Indian Ocean port, in a container carrying sugar to Uganda from Brazil.

The prosecution says Marrian through his company Mshale Commoditities Uganda LTD requisitioned 22 containers of sugar to be imported from Brazil and drugs were discovered in four of the containers. Mwanthi is a clearing and forwarding agent and a director of Inland Africa logistics, which was actively involved in clearing the containers.

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 Mombasa port, the State Department's 2016 drug control strategy report says.

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