Thursday, February 23, 2017

Police seize 'most wanted' suspected drug trafficker

DCEC Commissioner General Rogers Sianga.

DCEC Commissioner General Rogers Sianga. 

By Bernard James @bernclaud

Dar es Salaam. A man who police say is a “most wanted leader “of a heroin trafficking ring operating between Tanzania and China yesterday surrendered to authorities after an intensive two-week manhunt.

Mr Ayubu Mfaume, alias Kiboko, presented himself at the headquarters of the Drug Control and Enforcement Commission (DCEC) on realizing the police had for the past two weeks laid a trap to arrest him.

Anti-drug officials say Kiboko is a big time drug kingpin operating in Tanzania and China but highly connected with drug cartels in Brazil, Pakistan and several other European Countries.

With his biggest operational base is in Tanzania, he has been sending couriers from Tanzania, with some from Nairobi (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda).

DCEC commissioner for operations Mihyayo Msikhela confirmed they were holding the suspect, saying “there was no way he (Kiboko) could be left out” based on intelligence gathered about his drug dealings. His arrest, according to Mr Msikhela, enters into record as one of the first big achievements of the authority.

A team formed to trace him had laid trap at his Tegeta home only to find that he had travelled to overseas. On his return, he is said to have travelled to Musoma region to escape arrest. Hounded by the manhunt, he decided to return to Dar es Salaam and gave himself up to the authorities.

“We got him. This is the big time drug dealer the likes of Shkuba. Having him in our cell is a big achievement in dismantling drug trafficking networks,” said DCEC Commissioner General Rogers Sianga told The Citizen.

Shkuba, whose real name is Ali Khatibu Haji, was the country’s most powerful and influential drug kingpin, was arrested in March 2014. The US government has listed him among the world’s most notorious drug traffickers and went on to freeze his assets and banned its citizens and his associates from engaging in transaction with him.

Inquiries by The Citizen shows majority of over 200 young Tanzanians drug mules held in China jails for drug trafficking were couriers recruited and sent there by Kiboko.

Kiboko’s name appeared on the famous letter listing 12 suspected notorious drug dealers released by a Tanzanian prisoner in Hong Kong in 2013. In their letter, the inmates who are serving life sentence in China prisons have named Kiboko as among people who has been recruiting and use them to traffic heroin to China and Hong Kong.

One of the inmates claimed in a letter he was recruited by Kiboko as a courier as he pleaded with young Tanzanian to resist the temptation of the drug barons not to fall into the clutches of the drug lords.

The suspect who has for many years been on the list of most wanted drug dealers by the Anti-Drugs Unit (ADU), was among 122 suspected drug dealers who were arrested between 2007 and 2008 and put under police and court watch for engaging in illicit trade.