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JKIA passenger arrested in Ethiopia for smuggling cocaine valued Sh1.7 billion

By Hilary Kimuyu September 29th, 2022 2 min read

The Ethiopian Customs Commission on Wednesday confiscated 97 kg of cocaine worth more than Sh1.7 billion at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

The female passenger was arrested after she arrived with the luggage on Wednesday containing the narcotics.

Officials said preliminary tests had shown the drugs were worth 773 million birrs (US$14.6million).

She had flown from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Addis Ababa and was apprehended by the Customs Commission Airport Branch while attempting to smuggle the cocaine in two suitcases.

“The suspect was caught trying to smuggle two bags weighing 48.62 and 48.86 kilograms each through transit passengers and tax-free passengers using the Green Line,” the commission said in a statement.

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Local media said the commission confirmed that the suspect was arrested trying to pass two bags weighing 48.62 and 48.86 kilograms each, through the low-risk level (Green Line), where transit passengers and passengers carrying duty-free and non-taxable goods exit.

To evade x-ray probation, the commission says, she attempted to conceal the objects in her suitcase by wrapping them in aluminium foil as if they were books, but further inspection revealed that the luggage was stuffed with cocaine.

“If the drug escaped through the inspection checkpoint and delivered to terrorists, it would cause a huge social and economic crisis and potentially threatens the well-being of citizens,” said the Customs Commission.

There was no information on how the alleged suspect got through the inspection and customs desk at JKIA.

The seizure puts officials at the JKIA on the spot over their safety to ensure such narcotics don’t pass.

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Last month, a Nairobi Court ordered a German national to be jailed for 20 years and also pay a fine of Sh20 million for the offence of drug trafficking.

In a report issued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Wednesday, Mr Rommenswinkel Dieter was found in possession of drugs valued at Sh8.34 million.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecution Mr Noordin Haji said that the prosecution team had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and the judge administered the aforementioned sentence.

In the recent past, drug trafficking offenders who find themselves at JKIA have always been nabbed by the hawk-eyed security team managing the airport.

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