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4 Kenyans in trouble with US authorities for drug trafficking

A mother and her son are among four Kenyans and six Americans charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging the sale of opioid prescriptions for cash through medical clinics authorities labelled as shams, according to U.S. Department of Justice.

The four Kenyans, one who is on the run, are accused of writing medically unnecessary prescriptions at a pain clinic to patients who paid in cash.

Authorities alleged that Louise W. Mureithi, 69, Harrison Maruje Mureithi, 42, Duncan Muthoni Wanjohi, 23, and Xavier Muduki Mabale, 42 and others working under Dr John Michael Korzelius, 68, a.k.a. “Dr K,” guidance prescribed more than 439,000 pills of high-dose oxycodone in an alleged drug trafficking ring over two years.

Three Kenyans Harrison Mureithi, Mabale, Louise Mureithi were arrested on Wednesday and were expected to make their initial appearances later that day in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

The other Kenyan, Wanjohi, has been labelled a fugitive and US authorities are looking for him.

US Drug Enforcement Administration agents reported seizing 20,737 oxycodone pills, and Sh19 million ($177,610) in cash in the two-year investigation.

Authorities said they intercepted a mailed parcel containing a teddy bear stuffed with two bags of oxycodone pills.

The DEA worked with an IRS criminal investigation group.

They have been charged with narcotics-related offences, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, distribution of fentanyl and money laundering.

If convicted of the charges, the defendants each would face statutory maximum sentences of at least 20 years in federal prison.