Man wanted in the US for narcotics and ivory trafficking nabbed in Mombasa


Andrew Kasuku, The Star

Date Published
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A fugitive on the wanted list for poaching and narcotics trafficking in the US has been nabbed by International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport.

Abubakar Mohamed Sarur alais Mansur was nabbed by a multiagency team coordinated by Interpol 50 minutes past midnight on Wednesday.

Police reports indicate Mohamed was arrested at the arrivals terminals after landing from Yemen on board Skyward Express chartered aircraft flight No DHC8.

He was among 47 Kenyans who were allegedly stranded in Yemen and were returning home.

“We have him in custody…that’s all for now,” Coast regional DCI boss Washington Njiiru told the Star.

He was taken to the Moi International Airport police station for interrogation before being detained at Port Police Station.

Mohamed was on the wanted list for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhinoceros horn and ivory, both protected wildlife species, valued at more than Sh700 million ($7 million) that involved the illegal poaching of more than 35 rhinoceros and more than 100 elephants.

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had been searching for Momahed and another Kenyan Abdi Hussein Ahmed, aka ‘Abu Khadi’ since June 2019 after US authorities charged Moazu Kromah, a Liberian and Amara Cherif, a Guinea citizen at a federal courthouse in New York City on charges of rhino horn and elephant ivory trafficking.

Kroma and Cherif allegedly headed one of the largest wildlife crime syndicates in Africa.

Mohamed, 60, is said to be a member of a transnational criminal enterprise based in Uganda and surrounding countries that was engaged in the large-scale trafficking and smuggling of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory.

Reports indicate that Mohamed, Hussein and two others conspired to transport, distribute, sell and smuggle at least approximately 190kg of rhinoceros horn and at least 10 tonnes of ivory from or involving various countries in East Africa, including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania.

It was to be transported to buyers located in the United States and countries in Southeast Asia from December 2012 to May 2019.

More reports indicate that they allegedly received and deposited payments from foreign customers that were sent in the form of international wire transfers, some which were sent through U.S. financial institutions, and paid in cash according to the DEA.

Mohamed and Hussein are also accused of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than approximately 10kg of heroin to a buyer represented to be located in New York.

“We are pleased to hear of the arrest of suspected wildlife trafficker Mansur Mohamed Surur in Mombasa. His arrest is an important success for Kenyan law enforcement and shows significant progress is being made to disrupt major trafficking networks across the continent,” said Save the Elephants CEO Frank Pope.