Pubdate: Thu, 16 Dec 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers


Routes used by international drug traffickers, with Kenya as a transit

Eight people were arrested yesterday over the Sh5 billion cocaine
haul, as police investigated a possible link with the Mafia.

Three of them - two Italians and a Kenyan - were seized in Malindi
while a fourth key suspect, another Kenyan, was held in Nairobi.

Four others including one Kenyan were arrested in Holland, as the
worldwide crackdown on the drug smugglers continued.

The eight are believed to belong to a drugs cartel with agents as far
as Colombia and Venezuala in South America, and in Holland and the UK
in Europe, as well as in Kenya.

Police were also looking for five Dutch and German citizens who are
believed to have rented the villa known as Rocky House in Malindi,
where a speed boat loaded with 701 packets of cocaine was seized.

The Dutchmen and the Germans are believed to be hiding in Mombasa
after abandoning their getaway car at Malindi airport.

Police in Nairobi have seized a book with the registration numbers of
all vehicles that visited the godown belonging to Kenomar
International Kenya Ltd., in Embakasi, where 253 packets of cocaine
were seized.

One of the cartons in which cocaine disguised as bananas had been

They also want to question the director of Kenomar to find out who had
rented the godown.

"We will not go for the small boys; we shall use the small boys to
smoke out the bigger boys," said CID director Joseph Kamau. "We will
not allow Kenya to be used both as a conduit or as a destination of

Mr Kamau announced the seizure of the villa, the speed boat and a
vehicle as high level investigations into the drug network began.

The CID boss added police through Interpol were investigating possible
links between the haul and the Mafia, which has long been known to be
heavily involved in drug smuggling.

Mr Kamau, who led the police team in Malindi accompanied by his deputy
Peter Kavila and GSU commandant Lawrence Mwadime, went on: "From now
the house, the boat and a vehicle left at the Malindi airport are
exhibits and will be the property of the government once the case is

The villa is in the exclusive Casuarina area, normally patronised by
wealthy Italian, German, Dutch and British tourists.

The speedboat, called Outrage 21, was parked outside the house
yesterday, still on its trailer.

Part of the drugs from Colombia and Venezuela, which police seized in
a godown in Nairobi's Embakasi area on Tuesday night.

It took 10 officers from the team more than four hours to remove the
drug packets from the speedboat's deck and place them on the villa's
verandah where they were counted, numbered and placed in metal boxes
before being carted off by drug squad officers.

Police said the speedboat belonged to Nairobi-based Central Valleys
Supplies Ltd.

The white boat with a red canvas roof was found in abandoned in a
compound with its massive cargo of drugs.

Investigations revealed that the German and a Dutchman paid Euro
19,900 Euros (about Sh2,150,000) inclusive of freight cost for the
boat from its manufacturer in Malaga, Spain, on June 4 this year.

The boat's fuel tank had been removed and in its place were packets of
drugs wrapped in silver foil, rubber material and cellotape and each
weighing 1.3 kgs.

Neighbours said the Dutchmen began to rent the house some six months

A food vendor said she had always assumed they were tourists on
holiday, although once in a while she saw them inside a car in deep
conversation with some of Malindi's Italian residents.

"I used to see them seat in their car for a long time with Italian
women and men with cottages and villas here in Casuarina, but was
shocked to see the GSU officers and receive information that they were
actually drug traffickers," the hawker said.

Rocky House, the luxury villa in Casuarina Estate, Malindi, where 701
kilogrammes of cocaine were found.

Two women - a gardener and a househelp - were arrested when they
reported to work yesterday but found their house sealed. They were
taken to Malindi police station to record statements.

A Kenyan who linked the Italian caretaker of the house to the Dutchmen
was arrested and is being held by the police. Police named him as Mr
Ibrahim Abdalla.

Malindi deputy police chief Josec Nasio said, "the man should explain
how he ended renting the house on behalf of the Dutchmen who wanted to
operate from the villa for six months".

Police linked the people who rented the house to those who had also
rented the godown in Embakasi.

The house occupants, described by neighbours as elderly, were last
seen on Sunday, leaving hurriedly in a Toyota Corolla.

The car was later discovered abandoned at Malindi airport and is
believed to have been used by the five drug traffickers minutes before
police raided the villa.

They paid for the house owned by an Italian, Mr Pompo Rocchi, for 400
Euros (about Sh43,200) a month, paying six months' rent in advance on
September 13 this year.

Officers count packets outside a house in Malindi where another
consignment was recovered.

Mr Rocchi had bought the house from Mr Angelo Ricci, who is currently
the caretaker and has also been arrested and is helping police with
their investigations.

We want to establish how he could have rented the house to the three
couples, received the six months rent in advance without any
documentation," Mr Kamau said.

Rocky House, a pink four-bedroom villa sits within a large compound
ringed by walls of coral reef, draped in bougainvillaea inside a wire
mesh fence.

Its compound, which has a kidney shaped swimming pool, is dotted with
coconut trees and exotic flowers. It is well lit, with lamp posts
rising from the paved walkways.

All the four bed rooms are ensuite and there is a large lounge
sweeping back to the pool area. The living room was furnished with a
dark mahogany dining table and four chairs and showed signs of having
been lived in recently. Four German novels and several English
magazines were strewn on a wall cabinet.

The villa is elaborately furnished with antique and exotic furniture.
A fully stocked two door fridge stood the kitchen.

Police at the scene yesterday said they have always suspected drugs
were transited at the port to Europe, America and South Africa.

"The present seizure now confirms Interpol's date seizure report that
the consignees from Pakistan are handled by our sea port," said the
Coast CID boss Mr Patrick Ombimo Ochieng.

He added, "In the recent past there has been an interception of heroin
and hashish at Pakistan's Karachi sea port destined for the East
African port. We do now confirm that the second could have passed unnoticed."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek