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Security officials arrest three KRA officers, nab huge consignment of Mandrax in Eldoret Aiport

By Silah Koskei | April 29th 2018
Police officers carry one of the box containing mandrax drugs sized at the Eldoret National Airport (Peter Ochieng, Standard)

Security officials Saturday nabbed a consignment of 80,000 Mandrax capsules at Eldoret International Airport (EIA).

The recovery of illicit Mandrax drugs which was concealed as capsules written as 'joint fix' was made following a multi-agency operation that saw four people arrested.

The owner of the consignment was also arrested in Nairobi and is in custody assisting in investigations. Mandrax is usually sold in form of a tablet and highly addictive across the world.

The officials include three Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and one official from the Poisons board for failing to cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

Security was tight at the airport on Saturday morning as General Service Union (GSU) officers manned a strong room where the drugs were being kept.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga who was flanked by other security officials said the airport officials flagged off a suspicious consignment which was later verified as Mandrax.

"The officers became suspicious of the consignment after it arrived the airport on April 16, a sniffer dog was brought in and it confirmed that the capsules were the hard drugs. In order to make more confirmations, the cargo was taken to government chemist for further analysis as the rest was taken to the strong room," said Chimwaga.

He added: "The results returned positive of Mandrax on April 26.  The four officers drawn from Kra and poisons board were arrested after failing to assist the multi-agency in the investigation, we are concerned with how they took part from initial flagging and after results were relayed. They were not good team players"

The value of the drugs could not be revealed as the officers maintained that more investigation should be done on its quality and value of the drugs.

According to sources within the airport, it is alleged that after the cargo was taken to the strong room, Kra and poisons board officials were adamant in surrendering the consignment for more confirmation.

"They chased away our officers while some maintained that the drugs were meant to treat numerous ailments," said the source who sought anonymity. The move saw more Gsu officers called in to take charge of the strong room.

Chimwaga said they have embarked on investigations to ascertain why the cargo with hard drugs had to be flown from Dubai aboard Emirates fight had to be re-directed to Eldoret International airport instead of the earlier Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)

"We want to conduct more investigations to ascertain if there is a market and local distribution for the hard drugs in Eldoret town. Similarly, we want to find out whether the importers wanted to test the level of security in the airport so that they can be using to traffic the drugs," he added.

The consignment according to the security officials, was packed in cartoons of ten with sachets of 16.  Each has 50 packets arranged in ten capsules totaling to 80,000.

"We are following strong leads on key players and sellers of the hard drugs within Eldoret," said the regional commander.

The hard drugs were handed over to the anti-narcotics team pending more investigations into the recovery even as caution was given to KRA and poisons board against being an impediment in the investigation.

Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno called on the government to take stern action against the individuals behind the hard drugs.

"Those arrested should serve as an example because we cannot allow our airport to be used as a conduit where drugs gain entry," he added.

Chemno said there is need for security agencies to be firm on investigations and focus on courier agencies in order to prevent entry of hard drugs.

"Most youths have continued to suffer due to drug abuse and had security officials not intervened, it would have had a negative impact on our children," he said.


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