Kenya has charged six men, including three foreigners, with drug trafficking for bringing more than 100 kg (220 pounds) of heroin into the East African nation, said a court.
Officers acting on a tip-off nabbed the three Kenyans, two Iranians and a Pakistani and the chief magistrate said they had oversaw the offloading of the drugs from a fishing boat into two waiting vehicles at dawn on Friday.
“It is not true,” each man said as Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei read out the charges. The charge sheet alleged the men were caught in possession of 102 kg of the Class A drug, lower than the 196 kg claimed by police last week, Reuters reports.
Drug trafficking in Kenya carries a maximum life sentence. The suspects were remanded in custody until April 31.
Both Iran and Pakistan are major transit countries for heroin from Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of the drug.
The United States has said Kenya’s position makes it an ideal destination and transit point for both heroin and cocaine.
Last year the United States said it had permanently banned four senior Kenyan government officials and a businessman from travelling to its territory over allegations of trafficking narcotics
Visiting head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov said his office was helping Kenya reform its police force as the country steps up its fight against drug smuggling.
East Africa has in recent years been overshadowed by West Africa’s emergence as a major stopping-off point for the cocaine flowing out of Andean countries bound for Europe.