By Cyrus Ombati
A Kenyan ex-convict has been arrested in Italy after being found in possession of cocaine.
Ms Judith Akinyi, who was released from Lang’ata Women’s Prison in April 2008 after serving a seven-year jail term, was found unconscious on a street in Rome last April and later found to be carrying the narcotics.
She had swallowed pellets of the drugs, which burst in her stomach before she could reach her destination, leading to her collapse, police said in Rome.
On interrogation, Ms Akinyi claimed she had been forced to swallow the drugs by people unknown to her, after they made her unconscious. Head of Anti-Narcotics Unit Judith Auma said they had been informed of the incident.
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Prisons authorities said: "We are informed of the same. It is unfortunate that after she came out of jail she continued the illegal business."
Akinyi and two other inmates received a presidential review of their sentences before her term ended.
She had been jailed for nine-and-a-half years after being found with 150 grammes of heroin at Entebe airport on arrival from Pakistan.
By the time of her release, the former lecturer at the Kenya Polytechnic had served seven years.
Her book, Deadly Money Maker, was written in jail and has been received well by readers.
Akinyi lectured at the Kenya Polytechnic till 2001 when she was introduced to drug trafficking by one of the most feared drug dealers at the time.
She was jailed for 11 years for trafficking in drugs, but the sentence was commuted on appeal and she was released.
After her high school education at Moi Girls’ School in Nanyuki, she joined the Kenya Polytechnic to study institutional management.
After completing the course, she got a teaching job with Kenya Technical Teachers College in Gigiri.
In December 28, 2001, Akinyi was charged with trafficking in narcotics, using and being in possession of a forged passport and using a forged passport at the Kibera Law Courts, and later remanded at Lang’ata women’s Prison.
Six months later, Akinyi was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
She was entitled to appeal, but her chances were slim since she had admitted in writing to committing the crime when she was arrested.
Drug trafficking is arguably one of the most devastating illegal trades in the world, but one of the most lucrative as well.
Barons use ingenious ways to smuggle drugs into countries, but they are not blind to the risk of being apprehended, and therefore they recruit a mule or a courier, someone they pay to ferry their loot.
Should the plan go awry, the main culprit without a face goes scot-free, while the messenger goes to prison.