Wanted suspect arrested in raid in Joska, police recover ivory, bullets (Kenya)


Cyrus Ombati, The Star 

Date Published
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A man who police claim is a leader of Kilimani organized crime syndicate involved in wildlife crimes, gold scamming, cyber-crime and drug trafficking was arrested in a police operation in Joska area, Nairobi.

Isaac Mugwandia Macharia was arrested on Thursday morning in a joint operation by DCI special service unit team and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers, who were acting on intelligence.

The team said they recovered a G3 rifle magazine, five bullets, bow and arrows and one ivory from his house.

The team also recovered assorted Sim cards, laptops, cell phones and storage devices.

A process data quickly machine that police suspect could be used in fraud was also recovered from the house.

Macharia was expected before Kamiti law courts to face cybercrime charges and a wildlife trafficking offence.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said the arrest is a major breakthrough in cracking organized crime in the city.

“We are looking for more suspects,” he said.

He said the suspect is part of a five-member gang being sought after by the police. The five individuals include Ian James and a Congolese national Luodom Serge.

James was arrested in December 2021 while in possession of narcotics and wildlife trophies.

Poaching in the region is on the rise as armed criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns, which are usually shipped to Asia.

As part of efforts to stop the crime, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment, including drones to track poaching gangs and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.

Parliament has also passed strict anti-poaching laws, and the government has beefed up security at parks to stop poaching, which threatens the vital tourism industry.

Kenya has special squads pursuing poachers.

Regionally, Kenya has also emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa.

The illegal ivory trade is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.