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Venezuelan woman arrested with Sh8m cocaine at JKIA, Nairobi

Tuesday December 26 2017
By FRED MUKINDA

Police are holding a Venezuelan woman whom they say was found carrying Sh8 million worth of cocaine concealed in a false bottom of her suitcase at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Ms Medina Paez Maria Artmelis was arrested by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials moments after she landed from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Christmas Day.

She was travelling on a tourist visa.

KRA Customs and Border Control Commissioner Julius Musyoki said the woman was carrying 2.5 kilogrammes of the drug in her suitcase.

RED ALERT
To effect the arrest, the Customs Division worked with officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service and the Kenya Airports Authority.

This is part of an ongoing high alert security management strategy that has been put in place for the festive season and beyond.

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“The attempt by the Venezuelan drug trafficker to smuggle such a sizeable cocaine package, we believe, was based on a mistaken view that the number of security officers at the airport would be low.

"However, we are all operating in a red alert mode throughout the festive season and beyond to guarantee national security,” Mr Musyoki said in a statement.

MULES
The matter is being handled by officers from the Anti-Narcotics Police Unit and the suspect is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

“As part of the KRA transformation strategy spearheaded by Commissioner-General John Njiraini, the authority is gearing up to play the role of the lead border control agency with complete electronic control of all goods entering and exiting Kenya,” the statement said.

The drugs were wrapped with aluminium foil, a tactic commonly used by traffickers so that their narcotics are not detected by X-ray scanners.

A study has shown that Kenya is a transit country for narcotic drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

A report compiled after the study warned that women are being recruited as mules by drug trafficking networks in West Africa.

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