People Daily

13 bigwigs named in Akasha drug syndicate

PD Team and Agencies @PeopleDailyKe

United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could soon pounce on 13 Kenyan bigwigs allegedly named by self-confessed drug lords — the Akashas.

The individuals, who are now at risk of being indicted by the foreign agencies, include four judges, two sitting governors, a top lawyer, and an MP.

Others are a former governor, a former MP, a former top police officer, a former Cabinet secretary and a prominent businessman.

A highly placed source intimated to us that the Akashas named the 13 in connection with drug trafficking activities.

All those involved have already been informed of the impending investigations after the two Akasha brothers, currently being held in the United States, named them.

The list doing rounds has drawn reactions from Kenyans, as evidenced by a tweet by lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi who posted yesterday evening: “Very strange that in the alleged list of drug peddlers/barons/pushers given by the Akashas to the American FBI/DEA…prominent politicians from North Eastern appear very prominent…strange world…strange world.”

Last month, the Akasha brothers, Baktash Akasha Abdalla, 41, and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla, 29, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan Federal Court to conspiring to import, and importing heroin and methamphetamine, conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices in connection with their drug-trafficking crimes, and obstructing justice by paying bribes to Kenyan officials in an effort to avoid being extradited to the US.

The two signed a guilty plea with US authorities in an attempt to get a more lenient jail term for drug trafficking, bribery, violence and murder.

Maximum sentence

The duo pleaded guilty to conspiring to import heroin into the United States, conspiring to import methamphetamine into the United States, distributing heroin while knowing and intending that the drugs would be imported into the United States, and distributing methamphetamine while knowing and intending that the drugs would be imported into the United States.

Each of these four crimes carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The two suspects will be sentenced on February 1, 2019, on their own guilty plea.

The defendants were provisionally arrested in Kenya on November 9, 2014, after providing 99 kilogrammes of heroin and two kilogrammes of methamphetamine during the course of the investigation to confidential sources acting at the direction of the DEA.

Their bribery scheme was thwarted on January 29, last year when the defendants were expelled from Kenya and DEA agents took them to the United States for prosecution. The defendants pleaded guilty before US Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, and will be sentenced by District Judge Victor Marrero.

“The announcement of the guilty pleas of Baktash Abdalla and Ibrahim Abdalla highlights how trafficking drugs internationally or domestically will result in the relentless pursuit of violators until their capture and sentencing,” Special Agent in Charge the DEA Special Operations Division Office Ray Donovan was quoted as saying.

“These traffickers sought to spread poison throughout the United States for financial gain. Thanks to the agents involved, these traffickers are no longer free to continue such practices.”

In a report published last year, the US State Department says: “Kenya is a significant transit country for a variety of illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine, with an increasing domestic user population.” Kenya’s transformation into a trafficking hub has been picking up speed in the past 10 years.

In April 2014, an Australian Navy patrol seized heroin valued at $290 million (about Sh29 billion) off Kenya’s Coast.

This amount is equivalent to all heroin seized in the East African region in the two decades 1990-2009. Today, 40 tonnes of heroin is believed to be trafficked through East Africa annually, up from 22 tonnes in 2013 and four tonnes in 2009.

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