A court in Mombasa on Thursday charged nine foreign nationals for trafficking 377.224 kilograms of heroin, which police and prosecutors said was worth 1.1 billion shillings.
The nine suspects who included six Pakistanis, two Indians and an Iranian, were arrested on Kenyan territorial waters in early July on board MV Bushehr Amin Darya, a stateless vessel, which was towed into the port of Mombasa, and found the carrying the drugs.
“….Being crew members of ship MV Amin Darya, were found trafficking by conveying in the cargo deck of the ship 377.224 kgs of whitish and creamish granular heroin with a market value of 1,131,672,000 shillings, and 33,200 liters of liquid heroine whose value is yet to be established,” a court official read from the charge sheet, as a translator interpreted.
2400 liters of diesel mixed with heroine were also recovered from the vessel, prosecution said.
They denied trafficking the heroin and were ordered remanded until November 6th and 7th at the Shimo La Tewa prison when the case comes up for hearing.
Senior Principal Magistrate Maxwell Gicheru also said he would rule on the accused’s application for bail on August 18.
A lawyer told Baraka FM that if convicted, the suspects faced life imprisonment or a fine worth three times the value of the heroin, or both.
Police had earlier said they were communicating with India, Pakistan and Iran to find the owners of the vessel, which they said was headed for Mombasa at the time it was intercepted on the Indian Ocean.
There has been a surge in the volume of heroin trafficked through east Africa in recent years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with the port of Mombasa accused of being a transit point for narcotics and other contraband.
The drug is typically transported from Pakistan and Iran to east Africa, known for its porous borders and weak maritime surveillance, and on-wards to Europe.
In April an Australian warship seized more than a tonne of heroin worth $268 million from a dhow in Kenyan waters.