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Inside the Nairobi CBD cocaine smuggling ring

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday dismantled a cocaine smuggling ring operating in the heart of the city centre.

Anti-Narcotics and Transnational Organised Crime detectives first arrested a woman at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) who was travelling to Madagascar and seized 57 cocaine pellets stuffed in her underwear.

When questioned, the woman revealed details of a larger syndicate involving four other women.

She said she had been recruited into the illegal activity by a Ugandan national living in Kenya.

The DCI’s swift action led to the arrest of the Ugandan suspect, who in turn provided information on a network of three Kenyan women posing as businesswomen in Nairobi.

Investigations revealed that the trio had been directed to the Free Area Hotel building on Accra Road, where the VIP Beauty Shop is located and was likely to be a pre-arranged location for further instructions.

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After searching the beauty shop, detectives recovered more drugs which tested positive for cocaine weighing about 396 grams.

“Three other suspects namely Nangonzi Shirah (a Ugandan national), Esther Wanjiru, 24, and Sophia Kathambi, 24, were also arrested,” the DCI said in a statement.

The DCI is currently working with Interpol to identify and arrest the intended recipients of the drugs in Madagascar.

The latest arrests come just days after four suspects, including three foreign nationals, were arrested during a raid on suspected drug dealers and peddlers in Nairobi.

One of the suspects, a foreign national, was found with hidden pellets of a brown powdery substance at his home in Nasra Estate.

The second suspect, a 25-year-old Kenyan, was arrested in Ruaraka and taken to the DCI’s Mazingira Complex for questioning.

During a routine stop and search in Ruaraka town, detectives discovered similar substances hidden under the mats of his vehicle.

In a separate operation in Nairobi CBD, two other foreign nationals were arrested and taken to their residence in Kasarani, where a search of the house revealed suspected bhang and a package of a brown powdery substance, which were seized.

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Last week, Kenya deported seven Nigerians for alleged drug trafficking and possession.

Police and immigration officials said they were found with fake passports.

Among those deported between 18 and 21 March were Olayiwola Saheed Tunde and Nwosu Prince Chukwuebuka, who was arrested with one million US dollars in counterfeit money, 11 fake Nigerian passports and three fake Kenyan passports.

Also deported were Ajibade Adewale, Nwanonaku Alexander Odirachukwumma, Olayiwola Babatunde Akintomwa, Stephen Chigozie Nwachukwu and Ifaenyi Aginam Cosmos.

According to a report by the DCI, the cartels have thrived with the protection of drug barons, politicians, some rogue police officers and other government officials.

Drugs worth millions of shillings were also seized during the same period, with police warning that the quantity and demand for drugs in the country was increasing rapidly.