alexa End of the road for Akashas as brothers plead guilty - Daily Nation

End of the road for Akashas as brothers plead guilty

Thursday October 25 2018

Akasha brothers

One of the Akasha brothers arrives at a US airport from Kenya in January 2017. PHOTO | FILE | AGENCIES 

BENSON MATHEKA
By BENSON MATHEKA
More by this Author

A drug trafficking case facing the Akasha brothers Baktash and Ibrahim Akasha came to a close Wednesday after they pleaded guilty to six counts of drug trafficking and corruption charges before a court in the Southern District of New York.

In a tweet, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations announced that the two Kenyan citizens had pleaded guilty to the charges.

The DCI revealed that it participated in the case, saying it had presented “a water tight case” against the two “in partnership” with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The DCI said the director of its Anti-Narcotic Unit was personally in the United States to have the two plead guilty to the charges.

“The Director #AntiNarcoticsUnit personally flew to the USA having diligently prepared the case and managed to have the two accused persons plead guilty to drug trafficking charges, corruption to defeat extradition and conspiracy to use guns to facilitate their drug trafficking business,” the DCI said in a tweet.

It did not indicate whether or when the two will be sentenced.

EXTRADITION PLEA

In July, the US court rejected the brothers’ argument that they had been “forcibly kidnapped” and extradited into detention in New York in violation of a US-Kenya extradition treaty.

Judge Victor Marrero said the application by the Akasha’s was an effort to avoid trial on drug-smuggling charges by claiming that the US court lacks jurisdiction on their case.​

The two had sought to compel the US government to hand over documents related to their “extradition or expulsion from Kenya.”

After three months of deliberation, Justice Marrero decided that the brothers had failed to persuade him that the documents would be relevant to a “non-frivolous defence.”

They could be sentenced to life imprisonment, according to US drug trafficking law.

HEROIN SMUGGLING

They were arrested in Mombasa on January 28, 2017, by several armed individuals who identified themselves as Kenyan police.

On January 30, 2017, Ibrahim and Baktash were transferred to the custody of US Drug Enforcement Agency personnel, who flew them to New York.

US prosecutors had earlier charged them with conspiracy to smuggle 98 kilogrammes of heroin into the US.

At the time of the duo's extradition from Kenya, a Mombasa court was hearing a petition on whether they be taken to New York to stand trial.

“The allegations that they were removed from Kenya before they were formally extradited do not run afoul of any provisions of the [Extradition] Treaty,” Justice Marrero wrote in his July 2 ruling.​