In the first count, Kasungwa Mulu, Jacob Shangala, Solomon Mwaluma and Tangai Mwasi were charged with being in possession of 13 sacks of sandalwood that weighed 287 kilograms.
The four were intercepted on Wednesday afternoon by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers at Manga area in Voi sub-county with the illicit cargo.
Three of the suspects namely Kasungwa Mulu, Jacob Shangala and Solomon Mwaluma faced an additional count of being in possession of five pieces of elephant tusks weighing 10.6kgs.
Appearing before Voi Chief Magistrate Mildred Obura, the four suspects pleaded not guilty. Each of the suspects was released on a bond of Sh100, 000 with a surety of the similar amount or a cash bail of Sh50, 000 for each count.
The mention will be on January 25, 2022.
Taita Taveta being host to Tsavo National Park has been a poaching hotspot owing to the park’s vast size and terrain.
KWS officers have been collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching.
Though poaching and wildlife trafficking activities have significantly reduced, the illegal trade in wildlife products such as game meat and tree poaching still remains to be a worrying global threat.
Despite this challenge, wildlife conservationists and the government’s stance on poaching and wildlife conservation has been consistently no-nonsense.