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Police explain how Sh6 million heroin was seized off Malindi coast

By MKAMBURI MWAWASI
Updated Thursday, June 15th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
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Anti-narcotics police officer Simon Kamitu displays packets containing a white substance said to be heroin in the chief magistrate's court in Mombasa yesterday. Mr Kamitu told the court that together with other officers, he ambushed the Kilifi boatyard and arrested five suspects and recovered the packets. [photo by Mkamburi Mwawasi, Standard]

A police officer involved in the arrest of five men including a Seychellois alleged to have smuggled heroin worth Sh6 million told a court he recovered four bags containing "a white substance".

Anti-narcotic officer Simon Kamitu yesterday informed the court that the substance was suspected to be a narcotic.

Testifying before Chief Magistrate Julius Nang'ea, Mr Kamitu said the suspects had brought the narcotic to the boatyard to load it onto a boat named 'MV Baby Iris.'

Ahmed Said, Clement Bristol, Mohamed Bakari, Sharifu Mohamed and Ahmed Salim are accused of smuggling in heroin. They were arrested aboard the luxury boat on April 13, 2015, and have been in jail since.

Some compartments

Kamitu told the court that because they could not access some compartments of the boat, it had to be guarded by police officers.

"The boat had to be guarded by police so a further search could be conducted by our officers," he said.

He also told the court that the drugs were supposed to be delivered by water.

"We conducted the search following a report to our office at around 6pm and we had to lay an ambush at the yard in Kilifi," Kamitu added.

He informed the court that the accused approached the Kilifi boatyard in a red Toyota Crown vehicle.

"We ordered them to surrender and managed to arrest nine men; some were released after investigations," Kamitu said.

At a past hearing, the suspects' lawyer, Jared Magolo, said the police planted the drugs on his clients after a futile search for the heroin.

This was after the head of anti-narcotics unit at the time, Vincent Egesa, failed to explain two prior searches on the yacht.

In November 2016, a Mombasa magistrate ordered the prosecution of people involved in blowing up a yacht suspected to have been used in drug trafficking.

Blown up

The magistrate said the vessel was blown up without court orders yet it was a crucial exhibit in the case.

The destruction of the vessel was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry in 2015.

Mr Nang'ea ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to investigate and bring to book everyone involved in the destruction of the yacht.

"This is a serious case and the ship was an exhibit that was in the custody of the court but it was blown up," said Nange'a. "The DPP should prosecute those who torched the ship."

He withdrew from the case in early November, citing interference from the State and its departments.

But the file was ordered back to Nang'ea by Teresia Matheka, the head of magistrates in Mombasa.

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