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Friday, July 30, 2021

Kenyan man wanted for drug trafficking, poaching extradited to the US

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Suspected drug trafficker Mansur Mohammed alias Mansour has been extradited from Kenya to New York in the United States months after he was arrested at the Mombasa International airport after evading law enforcement officers.

Mansour was arrested on July 29,  last year, and presented in court on charges of conspiracy to traffic rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both endangered wildlife species.

This involved the illegal poaching of 35 rhinos and more than 100 elephants. 

Mansour was also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of heroin.

Mansour who arrived in New York Monday morning local time, had while in a Kenyan court attempted to prevent his extradition but was unsuccessful after the prosecution presented a witness that confirmed he was indeed wanted in the U.S for committing various crimes.

New York District attorney Audrey Strauss who made the announcement revealed that the suspect is part of an international syndicate engaging in the illicit trade.

“Mansur Mohamed Surur is alleged to be a member of an international conspiracy to traffic in rhino horns, elephant ivory, and heroin. The enterprise is allegedly responsible for the illegal slaughter of dozens of rhinos and more than 100 elephants, both endangered species. The excellent work of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the DEA has put an end to this operation,” said the New York District attorney.

Mansour, 60, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and two counts of wildlife trafficking, which each carry a maximum sentence of five years; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; and one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Attorney Strauss thanked the Kenyan and Ugandan authorities for cooperating with their counterparts in the US, saying the war against drugs remains a global issue.

“We thank law enforcement authorities and conservation partners in Uganda as well as the Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Kenyan Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for their assistance in the investigation,” Strauss said.

Kenyan authorities had revealed that Mansour had been on the run for 12 years, escaping police dragnets several times at his Kwale home before fleeing to DR Congo and thereafter Yemen in 2006.

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