When a crack unit of Kenyan narco cops raided a Mombasa villa in November, after an eight-month undercover US investigation, it marked a step change in Africa’s fight against drug trafficking.
The drugs sting was a first in East Africa. Four men were arrested: two sons of a murdered Kenyan drug lord, a convicted Indian trafficker with a faded Bollywood star wife and a bigtime Indian Ocean transporter from Pakistan known as “Old Man”.
The next day, on November 10, a New York indictment was unsealed and a US extradition request lodged. Nearly seven months later the groundbreaking operation is in jeopardy as efforts to extradite the suspects founder, casting doubt on international efforts to block a new “southern route” funnelling heroin from Afghan poppy fields to European and American streets, via Africa’s poorly policed eastern coastline. Continue reading The Kenyan Connection: drug bust exposes new heroin route
Experts are calling it the African “Smack Track”: a circuitous route to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan to Europe, passing through east Africa. Two drug busts in November, netting 712kg of the stuff, closed a record year for heroin seizures off the coast of Kenya. The haul is less a sign of improved policing and more evidence of the growing importance of the route.
The largest seizure took place in April, when an Australian warship found more than a tonne of heroin hidden among sacks of cement on a dhow in international waters. As routinely happens on the high seas, the drugs were dumped overboard, while the crew and vessel were allowed to go. The discovery, with an estimated street value of $240m, was equivalent to all the heroin seized off east Africa between 1990 and 2009. Continue reading Drugs smuggling in Africa | The Smack Track