Akasha sons face charges in US court

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By BERNARD NAMUNANE
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By PHILIP MUYANGA
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Two sons of the slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha and two foreign nationals are in America to face charges in a New York court of trafficking heroin and other drugs.

The two, along with the other suspects, have been fighting extradition for more than three years.

They were caught in a US undercover operation where they supplied 100 kilos of heroin and two kilos of methamphetamines to agents posing as dealers in 2014.

This came as the High Court in Mombasa declined to issue arrest warrants against Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro whom it had summoned to produce Baktash Akasha, Ibrahim Akasha, Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami and Pakistani citizen Gulam Hussein, whose whereabouts were then unknown.

In America, the arrival of the sons of the late Akasha was announced by US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and a special agent Raymond Donovan of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Four individuals charged with participating in a narcotics importation conspiracy arrived in New York from Kenya,” they said in a statement on the website of the US Attorney’s Office (USAO).

The four were charged in the Southern District Magistrate’s Court in Manhattan, New York, last evening.

Mr Bharara said: “As alleged, the four defendants who arrived yesterday in New York ran a Kenyan drug trafficking organization with global ambitions. For their alleged distribution of literally tons of narcotics – heroin and methamphetamine – around the globe, including to America, they will now face justice in a New York federal court.”

Mr Donovan described the Akasha sons as some of the most dangerous world drug traffickers and praised the Kenyans forces for working hand in hand with the US to arrest the four suspects.

“DEA pursues the most dangerous global drug traffickers who pose a direct threat to safety and stability around the world. We are relentlessly pursuing these criminal groups and their facilitators at every level with our law enforcement partners and we value and appreciate the work of our Kenyan counterparts. It is critical that we attack these dangerous networks before they can do even more damage worldwide and threaten innocent lives,” he said. Police sources in Kenya said the four were flown to the US on Monday aboard a chartered plane after fighting against their extradition in Kenyan courts for three years. They were arrested in a sting operation by US anti-narcotics agents, posing as South American drug traffickers.

US prosecutors said that Baktash, whom they described as the head of the drug-smuggling organisation, and his brother Ibrahim as the deputy, conspired to ship at least 98 kilogrammes of high-grade heroin to the US via Kenya, according to an indictment filed in New York on November 10, 2014.

Beginning March 2014, the Akasha brothers met in Nairobi and Mombasa with individuals whom they believed were members of a drug cartel based in Colombia that would arrange for the heroin to be brought to the US, the federal indictment states. Ibrahim Akasha personally delivered 98 kilogrammes of heroin to the supposed Colombian operatives on November 7, US prosecutors charge.

But the presumed representatives of the “Colombian Organisation” were actually confidential DEA sources.

The indictment said the heroin was to be transported through a network headed by Gulam Hussein, a Pakistani who uses the alias “Old Man.”

Hussein, who was arrested in Mombasa on November 11 along with the Akashas and another alleged conspirator, is said by US law-enforcement personnel to be a distributor of “massive quantities of narcotics throughout the Middle East and Africa.”

Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami, alias “Vicky Goswami,” is the fourth person arrested by Kenyan authorities.

An Indian, Goswami is described in the US indictment as a long-time associate of Hussein and as manager of the “Akasha Organisation” narcotics business, “including the procurement and distribution of heroin and the production and distribution of methamphetamine.”

The four individuals are to be formally arraigned in New York on four counts of US narcotics law violations after being extradited from Kenya.

If convicted on all charges, the Akasha brothers and their two alleged associates could be sentenced to more than 20 years each in US prisons.

The indictment recounts an eight-month series of meetings and telephone conversations involving the accused members of the Akasha Organisation and the US undercover agents.

The face-to-face discussions were videotaped and audiotaped and the telephone calls were also recorded, prosecutors say.

In the indictment’s account of these talks, the 98 kilos of heroin are referred to as “chickens,” while a 420-kilo quantity of the drug said to be potentially available from sources in Pakistan is termed “carat diamond” or “white crystal” because it is “100 per cent pure.” Baktash emphasised at one point, the indictment recounts, that the heroin had to be of “the highest quality because (a presumed Colombian trafficker) was taking the ‘diamond’ to America.”

These code words for heroin were allegedly used even though Baktash Akasha allegedly told a disguised US agent in March that a company in Europe provides mobile phones “so secure you can say ‘hashish’ and ‘crystal’ over the telephone without worrying about being intercepted by American or Israeli intelligence.”

The heroin to be shipped to Kenya and on to the US would come from a supplier known as “The Sultan,” Baktash allegedly indicated to one of the secret US agents in September. Goswami added, according to the indictment, that “The Sultan” was the number one supplier of white heroin in the world.”

In August, Baktash told one of the US undercover agents that the heroin shipments were delayed due to “religious holidays and rough seas in the Indian Ocean during the summer,” the indictment says.


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