Police question Briton, Kenyans over $3m cocaine bust
02 August 2016, 08:01
Mombasa -Kenyan police on Monday were interrogating a British national and two Kenyans over a $3 million cocaine haul found among a shipment of sugar from South America.
The trio were being questioned by a special team of US anti-narcotics agents and their Kenyan counterparts after being arrested at the weekend in connection with the 100-kilogram (220-pound) consignment, said a senior anti-narcotics officer.
"They are held within Nairobi and are assisting officers in the investigations. They were arrested in a sting operation," said the official, who asked not to be named as the investigation was ongoing.
The three are linked to a drug smuggling cartel from Brazil and were followed by foreign and local anti-drugs authorities for months, according to the officer.
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The drugs, worth an estimated 300 million Kenyan shillings ($3 million), were discovered on a Venezuela-flagged ship in the port city of Mombasa following an Interpol tipoff, nine days after leaving Santos, Brazil.
Each container on the vessel destined for Uganda was loaded with 520 bags of brown sugar, according to police, in which the cocaine was hidden.
The port of Mombasa on Africa's east coast has long been used as a transit point for drugs bound for Asia and Europe.
The so-called Smack Track -- that leads from Afghanistan to the Makran Coast of Iran and Pakistan and across the Indian Ocean to East Africa -- is an alternative to the traditional opium trail via Central Asia and the Balkans.
In West Africa, Latin American cocaine traffickers have strengthened their grip since the mid-2000s where drugs money fuels corruption and in the case of tiny Guinea-Bissau -- dubbed Africa's first narco-state -- may even outstrip national GDP.
Anti-drug officials that the issues dogging countries like Guinea-Bissau could be replicated in East Africa.