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Female Miraa smugglers arrested in Mombasa

12 March 2015, 18:03

Nairobi - Three Danish women pleaded guilty on Thursday to breaking Kenyan customs laws by attempting to smuggle suitcases stuffed with a narcotic herb out of the country.

The women were arrested at Moi International Airport in Mombasa with four suitcases containing 61 kilogrammes of khat, a mild herbal narcotic also known as miraa, that is grown legally in Kenya but banned in Europe.

"Our officers discovered the miraa wrapped and hidden in the suitcases as the three waited to board a flight," said airport police chief Richard Okweya.

Khat, which has a stimulant effect similar to drinking numerous cups of strong coffee, is especially popular in Somali communities where it is traditionally chewed at important gatherings and social occasions.

It is believed the drugs were destined for Britain, where they would have an estimated street value equivalent to 20 million Kenyan shillings ($220,000).

Police said the three women had arrived in Kenya a week earlier, and were arrested before boarding a commercial flight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi before connecting to Denmark and then Britain.

The women pleaded guilty to the charges of breaking Kenyan customs law by attempting to export concealed goods and were fined 50,000 shillings(Euro 510) each.

Britain banned khat in June 2014, falling into line with other European countries.

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